While we await today’s MMWR and a briefing this afternoon from the CDC on the H3N2v outbreak in Ohio and Indiana, we’ve three more West Nile Virus (WNV) deaths to report in Dallas County, Texas this week (see Ninth West Nile Virus Related Death in Dallas County August 8, 2012).
Nationally, as of August 7th, 253 neuroinvasive cases of WNV have been reported to ArboNET, along with 137 non-neuroinvasive WNV infections.
Of those, roughly half have been reported out of the state of Texas (see CHART).
It is estimated that only about 20% of the people who are infected with WNV develop symptoms, and the vast majority of those only experience a mild flu-like illness. Accordingly, mild, asymptomatic, or non-neuroinvasive infections are likely vastly undercounted.
The more severe `neuroinvasive’ form of WNV can produce symptoms that include headache, stiff neck, confusion, coma, convulsions, and even paralysis.
It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with WNV.
When someone is infected with West Nile virus (WNV) they will typically have one of three outcomes: No symptoms (most likely), West Nile fever (WNF in about 20% of people) or severe West Nile disease, such as meningitis or encephalitis (less than 1% of those who get infected).
If you develop a high fever with severe headache, consult your health care provider.
While many are concerned this week over an emerging swine flu virus, so far we are not aware of any deaths or serious illness from that flu strain.
The same, sadly, cannot be said about mosquito borne illnesses this summer.
Reason enough for health departments across the nation to urge people to follow the `5 D’s’ of mosquito protection:
To find out about the West Nile threat in your area, you can visit the DVBID website below:
Click on a state to link directly to their West Nile virus Web page.
See list below for additional city-level and main State Health Department Web sites.