Despite all of the news related to Zika Virus, West Nile Virus (WNV) is still a yearly threat to be aware of in the South Shore of Massachusetts. In 2015, there were 9 confirmed cases of WNV in Massachusetts, 6 cases became serious and 2 lead to death. While WNV is rare, it can be very dangerous and even deadly to everyone in the South Shore from Plymouth to Kingston to Scituate.
What is West Nile Virus?
West Nile Virus (WNV) is mainly transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, but can be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants and from mother to baby. The mosquitoes become infected with West Nile from biting infected birds.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus is asymptomatic in about 80% of infected individuals. The 20% who become ill can experience flu-like symptoms such as a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or rash. Fatigue and weakness can last for months, but most people with these mild symptoms recover completely.
Less than 1% of WNV cases become severely ill with a neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. With the inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissue, these WNV patients can experience headaches, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis. Elderly individuals and people with certain medical conditions such as kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension or those who have had an organ transplant are at higher risk for serious neurological WNV illness. Severe WNV disease can take several weeks to a month to recover while some neurological health effects can become permanent. About 10% of those who develop severe neurological WNV illness will die.
Treatment for West Nile Virus
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile Virus. Treatment should focus on relieving symptoms while those who experience severe neurological illness often need to be hospitalized. If you suspect you have West Nile Virus it is vital to see a doctor for proper care.
Prevention is the best way to avoid West Nile Virus in the South Shore. Avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites is the best method of WNV prevention. Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Mass offers a variety of mosquito control methods for your property. Our best-selling mosquito barrier spray will eliminate 85-90% of the mosquitoes on your property, and we’ll come back and spray every 2-3 weeks for the season. Call today for mosquito control in Plymouth, Kingston, Scituate and the rest of the South Shore Mass area.