If you live in or around
you’ve probably heard of Colorado West Nile, but did
you know that the region is the
most common area for this Zoonotic disease? In fact, Rocky
Nile was seen in
in 2003 and there have been many reported and unreported cases. Colorado West Nile
without question is here to stay.
How do people get
West Nile disease from the bite of the Culex
mosquito that is infected with West Nile
virus. A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. West Nile virus is not spread by person-to-person contact
or directly from birds to people.
What are the signs and symptoms of
Most people who are infected experience mild signs such as fever and headache. More sever signs include (usually elderly individuals)
West Nile encephalitis
(inflammation of the brain).
There is no specific therapy for
West Nile disease. In
more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy (hospitalization, intravenous
(IV) fluids, airway management, respiratory support such as ventilators are
used). Prevention of secondary infections (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.) is also optional.
The best way to prevent
West Nile disease or any
other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your
home and neighborhood and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Here are some suggestions:
· Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
· When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that Includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
· Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
· Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.