Multiple states warn on West Nile virus risk amid peak period

At the very least eight state well being departments have cautioned residents over West Nile virus danger within the final week amid a seasonal peak and instances reported in people and animals, on the uncommon event leading to dying.

State well being officers from Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, Utah, North Dakota, Louisiana, Delaware and New Hampshire launched preventive steering on West Nile virus, the main reason behind mosquito-borne illness within the U.S., based on the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. 

The virus is usually unfold by means of the chunk of an contaminated mosquito, with instances usually occurring from summer season by means of fall. There aren’t any medicines or vaccines for West Nile virus and officers say the easiest way to keep away from an infection is by stopping mosquito bites.

Dr. Philip Armstrong, a medical entomologist on the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, reported a late-season surge in contaminated mosquitoes, noting that the chance of contracting West Nile virus will proceed till October, when mosquito exercise ends. The state reported a 3rd resident, aged 50-59 of Hartford, contaminated with the virus. The resident is recovering after experiencing encephalitis, officers mentioned.

In the meantime, Idaho detected West Nile virus exercise in new areas this season, and as of Sept. 1 famous six human infections all involving extreme neurologic illness, together with one dying. Final yr, there was one reported human an infection in the identical timeframe.

“The circumstances are proper for mosquitoes to transmit the virus now till a killing frost eliminates the mosquito populations,” Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Idaho state public well being veterinarian within the Division of Public Well being, Division of Well being and Welfare, mentioned in a assertion. “Idahoans ought to assume that WNV is a danger anytime and wherever mosquitoes are energetic.”

Signs of an infection can embrace fever, headache, physique aches, nausea, swollen lymph glands and a pores and skin rash, although an infection can lead to extreme sickness, notably amongst adults age 50 and older. In extreme instances, an infection could cause excessive fever, extreme headache, stiff neck, altered psychological state and dying, officers word.

Massachusetts officers introduced the yr’s first animal case, and 4 human instances earlier this month. The state additionally raised the West Nile virus danger degree from average to excessive in 27 communities given rainfall, climate circumstances appropriate for mosquito exercise, human and animal infections and extra mosquitos carrying the virus.

“September is the month after we are most probably to see folks get contaminated with West Nile virus,” Performing Public Well being Commissioner Margret Cooke mentioned in a assertion. “Whereas we advise everybody to take steps to keep away from mosquito bites, that is particularly vital if you’re over the age of fifty or have an immune compromising situation. Additionally it is vital to know that as in a single day temperatures get cooler, mosquito exercise proper round nightfall and daybreak could also be extra intense.”

As well as, Utah reported the very best variety of mosquito lure websites constructive for the virus within the state’s surveillance historical past, and North Dakota well being officers on Sept. 10 introduced the state’s first West Nile virus associated dying in 2021 in a resident over age 60 in southwest North Dakota. What’s extra, Delaware just lately reported a 69-year-old Kent County man contaminated with West Nile virus, the state’s first such case since 2018.

Within the wake of Hurricane Ida, Louisiana well being officers mentioned the state expects heavy mosquito exercise and is taking measures to tamp down breeding websites and reduce the unfold of mosquito-borne illnesses. Officers reported seven West Nile virus instances in 2021.

Based on Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire state epidemiologist: “Till there’s a statewide mosquito-killing frost, it stays vital for everyone to take steps to stop mosquito bites, together with carrying lengthy sleeves, utilizing an efficient mosquito repellant on uncovered pores and skin, and avoiding outside actions at daybreak and nightfall when mosquitos are most energetic.”

Different preventive steps embrace eradicating standing water and cleansing roof gutters, repairing any broken screens in doorways and home windows and carrying insect repellents containing DEET.

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