June 19, 2023 – State and native well being officers across the nation are reporting the primary circumstances of West Nile virus of the season in people and urging individuals to take motion to guard themselves from the mosquito-borne illness.

Previously 2 weeks, new circumstances have been reported in Iowa and Nebraska, including to earlier 2023 reviews from Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. A mosquito at a monitoring website close to Houston examined constructive final week for the possibly deadly virus, prompting native well being officers to start night spray operations within the space the place the mosquito was discovered, in line with an announcement from Harris County Public Well being.

In accordance with the CDC, which compiles native reviews, there have been 13 human circumstances of West Nile virus in 2023. In 2022, there have been 1,126 circumstances, together with 90 deaths. 

Amongst this yr’s 13 circumstances reported to the CDC to date, eight individuals add extreme neuroinvasive illness, which suggests the illness unfold to the nervous system. Such extreme signs sometimes happen in 1 in each 150 circumstances of West Nile virus, and might embrace encephalitis, which is irritation of the mind, or meningitis, which is irritation of the membranes that encompass the mind and spinal twine. Three of the neuroinvasive circumstances occurred earlier this yr amid an outbreak in Maricopa County, AZ, the place the illness is taken into account endemic, in line with an April 28 report from the CDC.

The CDC says West Nile virus is the most typical illness unfold by mosquitoes within the continental U.S. Native well being officers pattern mosquitoes to information mosquito management methods. Thus far this yr, the CDC has obtained 28 reviews of mosquitoes testing constructive. These mosquito testing reviews got here from Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, and Texas.

West Nile virus is transmitted to individuals by the chew of an contaminated mosquito, however it will also be unfold to people in the event that they deal with a useless chook that’s contaminated. The CDC says there aren’t any medicines to deal with the virus in individuals. Most people who find themselves contaminated don’t really feel sick, and 1 in 5 individuals contaminated develop a fever and different signs like headache, physique ache, or a rash.

Prevention methods are to put on insect repellent and to put on long-sleeved shirts and lengthy pants to keep away from mosquito bites.

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