MA reports 1st West Nile virus positive mosquito

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"With planning and careful effort, West Nile infection can often be prevented", said Rick Dawson, Senior Manager of Surveillance and Investigation. Humans that are bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms 3 to 15 days after being bitten. Their bites can spread diseases such as Zika and West Nile.

When infected with WNV, about 4 out of 5 people will not have symptoms and will develop immunity after clearing the infection. If contracted, symptoms include mild flu-like symptoms, progresses into disorientation, seizures, coma, encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) and in the most severe cases, individuals die.

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Symptoms that may be present are: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness or paralysis, and confusion. In very rare cases, the virus can lead to neuroinvasive diseases like encephalitis or meningitis. A vaccine for horses is available and highly recommended. Serious illness can occur in people of any age; however, people over age 50 or people with weakened immune systems (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with West Nile virus.

How can transmission be prevented?

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Drain sources of standing water around your home each week so mosquitoes don't grow.

Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors.

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KEELPNO said the patients are from western Attica, but noted that the virus' circulation areas in the current season can not be safely predicted, as WNV's epidemiology is determined by many factors. To prevent mosquito bites, wear long sleeves and long trousers when out from dusk until dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. For a more extensive discussion go to ISDH's West Nile Page.

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