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West Nile Virus is a Season Threat in the North Shore

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is a seasonal problem in all of the North Shore area. While some people may become infected through blood transfusions or organ transplants, the majority of West Nile Virus cases are the result of a bite from an infected mosquito.

Mosquitoes become infected with West Nile Virus from biting infected birds. This begins a cycle of transmission from bird to mosquito and mosquito to bird. When humans or other mammals get West Nile Virus, they are a dead-end host and do not transmit the disease back to mosquitoes.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus in Humans

As much as 80% of people infected with West Nile Virus will experience no symptoms of illness at all and may not even know they have West Nile.

According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 West Nile infections will result in febrile illness. Symptoms can include:

  • joint pains
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • rash
  • headache
  • body aches
  • rash

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile Virus, but most people with febrile illness from West Nile will recover completely. Sometimes fatigue can last for a few weeks or months.

Severe Illness from West Nile Virus

While only 1% of people who become infected with West Nile Virus will develop neurological illness, it is very serious and can even be deadly. This illness can lead to meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation fo the brain or surrounding tissues).

Symptoms of severe West Nile Virus illness can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis. Recovery can take weeks or months. Sometimes the neurological effects are permanent and about 10% of cases lead to death.

If you fall into one of the categories below, you are at greater risk for serious neurological illness from West Nile Virus and should take extra precautions during mosquito season to avoid bites.

  • 60 years or older
  • Cancer patients
  • Diabetics
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney disease
  • Organ transplant recipients

If you suspect you may have West Nile Virus, see your doctor immediately for monitoring and/or treatment of symptoms.

Massachusetts Department of Health Monitors West Nile

We are lucky to live in the Bay State, where arboviruses are taken quite seriously. The Massachusetts Department of Health monitors mosquito populations, human cases and animal cases of West Nile Virus. These findings are reported daily so that the public can be aware of when it is found so they can step up their mosquito control efforts and mosquito safety measures.

While we can’t help but recommend season long protection against mosquitoes to make sure you are not that dreaded first case of West Nile Virus for the season, once West Nile Virus has arrived for the season, it is even more important to call us. Our mosquito barrier spray eliminates up to 90% of mosquitoes on your property for up to 3 weeks. Call Today (978) 887-1177.

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