The DeKalb County Board of Health saw an increase in West Nile virus activity in the county in late August. As part of the Division of Environmental Health’s routine monitoring, the number of infected mosquito collections increased from 37 during the week of Aug. 16 to 70 during the week of Aug. 23. In addition, the county reports two human cases of West Nile virus.
There are no vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection, nor are there medications to treat it. Fortunately, most infected people will have no symptoms. About one in five infected individuals will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
Less than one percent of infected individuals develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness. Severe symptoms of infection can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks or months. Some of the effects can be permanent.
“It is very unfortunate that any of our DeKalb residents has developed a West Nile virus infection. I hope this reminds everyone to educate themselves about West Nile virus prevention and to take precautions to protect themselves,” said S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A, district health director of the DeKalb County Board of Health. “The most effective actions against the virus are to wear mosquito repellent and to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed.”
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