West Nile is a virus that is typically spread by infected mosquitoes. Although the side effects of the virus can be severe, most infected individuals experience little to no symptoms and recover completely.
Here are three things to know about the West Nile virus first reported in the US in 1999. 19659005] How does it spread?
Mosquitoes are mainly responsible for the spread of the West Nile virus.
It all starts when "mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, and infected mosquitoes then spread the West Nile virus to humans and other animals by biting them," according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
West Nile does not spread by coughing and sneezing or touching a live animal with which it is infected the virus.
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What are the symptoms?
Most people who are infected have no symptoms, warns the CDC. However, a small percentage of people – about 1 in 5 – develop a fever and may additionally experience headache, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea or rash along with other signs of the virus.
Even rarer, about 1 in 150 people infected with the West Nile virus can develop a serious illness – such as spinal cord or brain inflammation –
There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment to treat or prevent the virus, says the CDC. Rather, the infected can take the counter-pain and antipyretics to relieve the symptoms.
Fortunately, most infected individuals recover completely.
In severe cases, however, "patients often need to be in the hospital to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, painkillers, and care," according to the CDC.
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Who is at risk?
The Mayo Clinic warns that the elderly and patients with pre-existing illnesses are more susceptible to the virus.
"Cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease increase your risk, that is, to get an organ transplant," said the CDC, who also pointed out that the risk by wearing long-sleeved and pants, by insect repellent and the shielding of windows and doors can be reduced.