What is West Nile Virus and how does it spread? Read here

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Mar 18, 2019 10:20 AM IST

The WNV can cause neurological disease and death in people and is common in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia.

A seven-year-old in Kerala, who had tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), died in Kozhikode on Monday.

Image for representation(AP)
Image for representation(AP)

The WNV can cause neurological disease and death in people and is common in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia.

Here is all about the virus:

What is West Nile virus?

West Nile virus (WNV) is an infectious disease spread by infected mosquitoes. It spreads from birds to humans with the bite of an infected Culex mosquito.

What are the symptoms on WNV?

People who get WNV usually have no symptoms or mild symptoms. The symptoms include a fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. They can last a few days to several weeks, and usually go away on their own.

When is it dangerous?

If West Nile virus enters the brain, it can be life-threatening. It may cause inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis, or inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called meningitis.

How is WNV diagnosed

A physical exam, medical history, and laboratory tests can diagnose it.

Who are at risk?

Older people, children and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk.

What is the cure?

There are no specific vaccines or treatments for human WNV disease. The best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. Treatment is supportive for patients with neuro-invasive West Nile virus, often involving hospitalization, intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and prevention of secondary infections.

Have there been any outbreaks?

The largest outbreaks occurred in Greece, Israel, Romania, Russia and USA. Outbreak sites are on major birds migratory routes. In its original range, WNV was prevalent throughout Africa, parts of Europe, Middle East, West Asia, and Australia. Since its introduction in 1999 into USA, the virus has spread and is now widely established from Canada to Venezuela.

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