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Published on November 21, 2016. Last modified on April 03, 2018
West Nile virus is a virus carried by mosquitoes. West Nile virus can cause serious illness in humans.
| West Nile first appeared in California
in 2003, and is here to stay. It is a seasonal
disease that flares up in the summer and
continues into the fall. In some parts of
California, people can be infected with
West Nile virus year-round.
How does infection occur?
You can get West Nile virus if an infected mosquito bites you.
People over age 50 are more likely to become very sick or die if they get infected by West Nile virus. In 2011, over 66 percent of the West Nile virus fatalities were in people over the age of 50.
Most people are bitten doing everyday activities around their own home like gardening, sitting outside, and barbequing. Keeping mosquitoes from biting you reduces your risk of getting West Nile virus.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus
Symptoms of West Nile virus usually will appear 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Most people with West Nile virus will not have any symptoms. However, older people or the immune-compromised, such as those on cancer chemotherapy, are more likely to get West Nile virus.
Common symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes skin rashes or swollen
lymph nodes. These symptoms may last a few days, but there are reports of prolonged fatigue and muscle weakness.
Serious symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, loss of
vision, convulsions, numbness, and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks and can cause permanent
nervous system damage.
Seek medical attention right away if you have any of these symptoms.
West Nile virus infection can sometimes be fatal. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection and there is no human vaccine.
Do not take a chance. While the risk of getting West Nile virus from a mosquito bite is small, it is easy to protect yourself
For more information