West Nile Virus

Summer 2002 CSANews Issue 43  |  Posted date : Apr 06, 2007.Back to list

The United States Center for Disease Control estimates that there will be 1000 human infections of the West Nile virus this year resulting in approximately 100 human deaths. Serious complications of the West Nile Virus can include encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and meningitis.

Every state east of the Rocky Mountains and several Canadian Provinces have reported the discovery of the West Nile Virus in mosquitoes and birds. Although human infection is considered to be extremely rare, those with weakened immune systems and over the age of 50 face the highest risk of becoming infected by the virus.

The symptoms of infection include: Fever, Headaches, Body Aches, Skin Rash and Swollen Lymph Glands. Severe infection is indicated by Stiff Neck, Stupor, Disorientation, Tremors, Convulsions and Muscle Weakness.

The presence of the virus can be determined with a simple blood test.

Prevention of infection is achieved by simple means. Wear an insect repellent that contains DEET, take action to remove any standing or stagnant water from your outdoor recreation area, and wear clothes with long sleeves and pant legs treated with DEET or Permethrin. It is also recommended that you stay indoors during the times when mosquitoes are most active; dawn, dusk and early evening.

So fix the holes in your screens and wear insect repellant when mosquitoes are present.

Although there were no reports of human infection by the West Nile Virus in Canada at the date of publication, the virus has appeared in animals and birds. Crows are particularly prone to the West Nile Virus and if you find a dead crow please report it to the local health authorities for testing.