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What are the Signs of West Nile Disease? 

June 16, 2020

Last week we looked at the signs of Lyme Disease now that more and more people are venturing outdoors. In that same vein, we thought it important to help our clients and readers understand that there are also signs and symptoms of another disease that you will also want to be wary of during these days spent outdoors… West Nile Disease. 

Where Lyme Disease is caused by the bite of a tick, West Nile is caused by the bite of a mosquito. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 2,647 cases of people sick from West Nile virus were reported to CDC in 2018. Though the total number of cases differ from year-to-year and state-to-state, all 48 continental United States have reported cases. Therefore, to say that this disease is prevalent is an understatement. 

Asymptomatic Issues 

Approximately 80% of people infected with the West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. These asymptomatic people may be able to go about their daily lives not even aware that their body is fighting an infection. Thankfully, these people will be able to weather the disease until it goes away on its own. 

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Mild Symptoms 

About 20% (or 1 in 5) of people who get West Nile will develop a mild infection called West Nile fever. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash

Most people who experience this level of symptoms will completely recover, but will remain feeling tired and weak for weeks or even months. 

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Severe Symptoms 

Sadly, about 1% (1 in 150) people who get West Nile disease will experience severe symptoms and will need medical intervention. Most of the people who experience the most severe form of this disease show signs of two major reactions that could be fatal. These include: injury to the central nervous system as seen in encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

The World Health Organization explains that signs of these neurological issues could include: 

  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Stupor or coma
  • Tremors or muscle jerking
  • Seizures
  • Partial paralysis or muscle weakness

Avoid these issues by taking some precautionary measures when going outdoors. Limit your time outside during peak mosquito time such as dusk and dawn hours. Use insect repellant with a key ingredient DEET, wear clothing that covers your body, and avoid using perfumes and pungent deodorants that could attract the mosquitoes. 

Some families find peace of mind by having their yards treated for mosquitoes and ticks by our specialists. Call us for a consultation today. 

 

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