Posts Tagged west nile symptoms and treatment
Last week I visited my parents in the great state of Maine (yes, I did have lobster). On Thursday night, I sat back and relaxed after a long day of visiting family and friends to watch the news and guess what the main story was? West Nile in Maine. Unfortunately, this is the case in many parts of the United States this year.
West Nile was first detected in the U.S. in 1999 and has been tracked by the Centers for Disease Control ever since. They reported today that 2012 is the worst year ever for the disease and they expect it to get worse, “’The peak of West Nile Virus epidemics usually occurs in mid-August, but it takes a couple of weeks for people to get sick, go to the doctor and get reported,’ said Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of CDC’s Vector-Bourne Infectious Disease Division. ‘Thus we expect many more cases to occur.’” Source.
As of this week, forty seven states had confirmed human cases of West Nile, accounting for 1,118 cases and 41 deaths. North Carolina had its first death from the mosquito-borne illness in over seven years and Texas has the largest outbreak with 586 cases and 21 deaths.
West Nile is transferred through mosquito bites and results in three different effects in humans: asymptomatic, West Nile Fever or West Nile Meningitis.
Eighty percent of those bitten by an infected mosquito will never get sick or show symptoms which is the asymptomatic phase. If a patient starts to develop a fever, headache, chills, drowsiness or other flu-like symptoms, they most likely have West Nile fever. These indicators usually start to present themselves after an incubation period of up to a week. There is currently no cure for the disease generally; instead, each symptom is treated accordingly.
The third and most critical phase of West Nile is West Nile meningitis. The symptoms of WN fever can be apparent but can also include less consciousness. Extreme cases of West Nile are more common in older generations.
The best way to protect yourself against West Nile is to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes. At Mosquito Squad, we don’t want “minimizing exposure” to mean that you lock yourself away indoors. We want you outside and enjoying the last weeks of summer. You can do this by following our 5Ts of mosquito control.
- Tip – tip objects that may hold standing water including birdbaths and dog bowls
- Toss – remove excess grass and other yard clippings
- Turn – Turn over objects like plastic toys
- Remove Tarps – remove tarps that aren’t pulled taut so they don’t produce small pools of water
- Treat – Have a professional come out and treat your property and its vegetation to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. The Mosquito Squad barrier spray can cut down on your mosquitoes by 85-90%.
If you have questions regarding how to effectively protect yourself against mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they may carry, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
The state of Pennsylvania recently reported that on May 3rd, it detected its first West Nile virus-carrying mosquito. The state started testing mosquitoes in 2000 and this year brought its earliest detection ever.
According to the Business Journals, “typically, the state’s first West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito is found in mid-June.” Adds the Department of Environmental Protect Secretary Mike Krancer “the unseasonably warm weather in March caused the virus cycle to begin early this year…our staff will continue to monitor mosquito populations and conduct spraying to reduce the threat to public health.”
Last year, the first West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito was found on May 17, 2011. From there it was found in 59 counties and six human infections were confirmed.
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans via mosquito bites. It’s been reported that 100s of cases are diagnosed every year and according to the CDC, it’s estimated that 300,000 Americans have been ill due to West Nile Virus since it arrived in the United States 11 years ago. Symptoms, including high fever, headache, body aches and nausea, usually appear between 3 and 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Serious cases can lead to encephalitis or meningitis. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and if the virus is known to be present in the area. Older adults are more likely to become ill when infected with West Nile Virus.
There is no specific treatment for West Nile. Instead, the exhibited symptoms are treated. Unfortunately, there isn’t a vaccine to protect against West Nile in humans and domestic pets (there is one for horses). The best way to prevent infection is to prevent mosquito bites. At Mosquito Squad, we do that through our 5Ts of mosquito control.
Tip – Tip over small objects in your yard that hold standing water, including dog dishes and children’s toys. Mosquitoes breed in standing water; cutting down on the breeding grounds will reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard.
Toss – toss out excess grass, leaves and firewood from yards.
Turnover – Turn over larger items like bird baths and planter saucers periodically.
Remove Tarps – When tarps aren’t pulled tightly, they leave areas for small puddles where mosquitoes can breed.
Treat Accordingly – Getting rid of standing water won’t get rid of all the mosquitoes around your property. A mosquito control spray will protect your yard against mosquitoes for 21-days.
At Mosquito Squad, we are happy to help family enjoy their backyards without the threat of West Nile and other mosquito-borne diseases. If you are interested in how mosquito control can help you, please visit us online at MosquitoSquad.com or call your local Mosquito Squad office.