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West Nile virus remains a threat to the people of Berks County



Public health officials are still testing mosquitoes to find out if they are carrying the disease.

Almost two decades after the West Nile virus appeared, health authorities are still taking notice of all mosquito carriers.

In Berks County, summer is the best time for mosquito bites and West Nile. According to the State Department of Health and the Environment Ministry, around 60 mosquito samples have been tested positive for the virus in Berks since June.

Last week, state officials said Pennsylvania's first probable human case of West Nile had been discovered in an Allegheny County Resident and that they had sent the patient's blood for further tests to confirm the diagnosis.

The good news is that nearly 80 percent of the people who become infected with the virus will not develop symptoms. Some will suffer from headaches, fever and other mild problems. In rare cases, the virus can be deadly.

"It's pretty benign, and most people do not even know when they get it," said Mari Driscoll, director of infection control and prevention for Penn State Health St. Joseph. "A very small percentage of people can become seriously ill."

West Nile has existed since 2000, and a coordinated effort involving 40 countries has focused on combating the spread of the virus and educating the public about prevention.

So far, more than 1

,000 mosquitoes have been tested positive for the virus in Pennsylvania. There have also been some positive tests in birds.

"I think people need to be aware of the ability of insects to transmit disease," Dr. Debra Powell, Director of Infectious Diseases and Medical Director of Infectious Disease Prevention at Reading Hospital. "Any way not to be bitten makes a lot of sense."

Commune Positive mosquito samples
Amity 2
Bally 1
Bern 3 [19659014] Birdsboro 1
Boyertown 1 [19659014] Caernarvon 3
Center 2
Cumru 2
Exeter 7
Hamburg 2
Kenhorst 2
Mohnton 2
Oley 1
Reading 13
St. Lawrence 1
Shillington 3
Shoemakersville 2
South Heidelberg 1
Upper Bern 1
Tulip perch 1
Washington 1
Wyomissing 5
Total from 26 July 57

Transmission

The local hospital officials were only able to refer to the West Nile in a few cases USA Remembering The Last Years

It is likely that people have been infected with the virus via an infected mosquito, but they never realized they were ill. It is transmitted via infected mosquitoes that transmit the virus to birds, animals and humans.

About 20 percent of people develop fever, pain, joint pain, vomiting and diarrhea. About 1 in 150 people will suffer from a severe case that can cause inflammation in the brain or membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

"It's not good," Powell said about the severe symptoms. "Some of these patients will die."

There is no treatment or vaccine against the virus. At the hospital, caregivers provide medication that relieves symptoms.

"You can only get it through a mosquito bite," said Driscoll. "The treatment is supportive, such as analgesics and fluid intake for patents that pass."

While the virus does not cause any problems in most healthy patients, it can cause complications for people with chronic conditions like diabetes and other vulnerable populations

"I think that people need to remember that if you have comorbidities it can make it worse, "said Driscoll. "If you are diabetic and do not feel well and do not eat, it could get your blood sugar out of reach."

Prevention

Wearing long-sleeved pants and long pants can lessen the likelihood that they'll be bitten mosquitoes, Powell said. It is a good idea to take care at dawn and dusk, when the mosquitoes are also looking for food. Dumping stagnant water in tires or small outdoor pools is another smart move to prevent.

Powell said West Nile mosquitoes would be present in Berks for the foreseeable future, but it's rare that they cause serious health problems in humans. Nevertheless, people must take precautions.

"It is important for the public to be aware of this and that it is a risk that we have in this area," Powell said.

There are many other insects that carry diseases (19659003) Those considering traveling to Zika-affected countries should also take note, especially if they are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, Powell said , Ticks that carry Lyme disease or Babesia still pose a major problem.

"We see much of it, from Lyme disease to Babesia," Powell said. "We see more of it every year."

About the West Nile Virus

Transmission: West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread the West Nile virus by biting on humans and other animals

Symptoms: About 8 out of 10 people infected with the West Nile virus develop no symptoms. About 1 in 5 infected people develop fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile Virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can take weeks or months. Severe symptoms occur in approximately 1 in 150 people who suffer from inflammation of the brain or inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Diagnosis: If you develop symptoms, contact your doctor. A test can confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment: No vaccines or specific antiviral treatments are available for West Nile virus infections. Over-the-counter analgesics can be used to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms. In severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive care such as intravenous fluid, analgesics, and skin care.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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