West Nile Virus

by Lois Etienne on June 22, 2013

in Lifestyle,Senior Health and Safety

MosquitoDid you know that West Nile has been present in WA State since 2006? West Nile virus is almost always spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk of getting West Nile virus is very low, but people over 50 years of age have the highest risk of serious illness.

• In most people, West Nile can cause a mild flu-like illness or may cause no symptoms. But as many as 50% of cases of West Nile can cause serious neurological diseases such as encephalitis or meningitis. Severe symptoms include neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.

• Experts say that mild winters, early springs and hot summers helped stimulate mosquito breeding and the spread of the virus.

• There is no vaccine to protect against West Nile virus. The best way to prevent West Nile disease is to avoid mosquito bites. Insect repellents, screens on doors and windows, and wearing long sleeves and pants are some of the recommended strategies.

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