Reviewing: Nile Virus
WHAT IS THE WEST NILE VIRUS?
The West Nile Virus is a potentially lethal form of encephalitis, which means "an inflammation of the brain."
Where did THE WEST NILE VIRUS Come From?
The West Nile Virus has been documented in humans and birds and other vertebrates in Africa, Eastern Europe, West Asia and the Middle East. The first documented case in the Western Hemisphere of the virus was not documented till 1999.
How Do People Get THE WEST NILE VIRUS?
People become infected by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
IF I AM BITTEN BY AN INFECTED MOSQUITO, WILL I GET SEVERELY ILL?
Not necessarily. Even if you are bitten by an infected mosquito, your chance of getting more that mild symptoms is less that 1%.
What Percentage of People with Severe Illness Due to WEST NILE VIRUS DIE?
About 3% to 15% of people who are severely ill with the West Nile Virus will die, but remember, less that 1% of those bitten by an infected mosquito will get severely ill.
WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE MY RISK OF BEING INFECTED WITH THE WEST NILE VIRUS?
Keep your immune system in peak condition with a high quality, high protein diet.
Get adequate rest, moderate exercise, and reduce your stress factors to the extent possible.
Supplements to increase immune response can be helpful. Beta Glucan Capsules are an excellent choice. Take a balanced multiple vitamin and mineral daily.
Stay indoors at dawn, dusk and early evening. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants sprayed with repellants containing permethrin or DEET if you do go out.
Apply insect repellant sparingly to exposed skin. Do not apply to the hands of children as repellants may irritate the eyes and the mouth.
Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
What are the Symptoms of West Nile Virus?
Most infections are mild and include fever, headaches and bodyaches. Severe infections are marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis, and rarely, death.
I Think I Have Symptoms of the WEST NILE VIRUS. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Contact your health care provider immediately. If you or your family members develop any symptoms such as high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, or severe headaches you should see a doctor right away.
Helen Pensanti M.D.
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