West Nile virus case confirmed in Polk County

Published 9:56 am Friday, September 7, 2012

On Aug. 29 a case of West Nile Virus was confirmed by the NC State Laboratory.  The patient had been admitted to St Luke’s Hospital but is now home and doing well. The patient had traveled out of the state before becoming ill. There is no treatment for West Nile Virus, (WNV) except for treatment for the symptoms. Milder symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, body aches and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.  These symptoms can last a few days or several weeks.  Serious symptoms occur in a few people which include some of the above listed symptoms plus high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.  People usually develop symptoms between three and 14 days past a mosquito bite.  If you develop symptoms that are severe seek medical attention immediately. Pregnant women and children should seek medical attention if they develop symptoms of WNV.  People at higher risk of developing serious symptoms of WNV are those over age 50 years People who spend increased time outside are also more at risk.

WNV is spread by bites from infected mosquitoes.  These mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.  Once the mosquito becomes infected it can spread the disease to humans and/or animals.  West Nile Virus is not spread from casual contacts from human to human.

The best ways for avoiding WNV are those for preventing mosquito bites.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

When outdoors use insect repellent containing EPA registered active ingredients to exposed skin areas by following directions on package.

Reduce time spent outdoors in early morning and early evening hours, wearing long pants and long sleeves.

Be sure windows and doors are covered by screens.

Get rid of mosquito breeding grounds by emptying standing water from flower posts, buckets, barrels, or old tires.  Change the water in pet dishes and change water in bird baths weekly.  Drill holes in tire swings to allow water to drain out.  Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when not in use.

– article submitted by Helen White