- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
So far, there have been 6 confirmed cases of West Nile Fever – the most common form of the virus - and 1 confirmed case of a neuro-invasive West Nile, which has far more serious symptoms associated with it, and can even lead to encephalitis or meningitis.
“The one confirmed case of the neuro-invasive strain of the virus we had in Lamar County resulted in death,” stated Executive Director of the Lamar County Health Department, Gina Prestridge.
The gentleman that passed away did have other health issues, but on the official report, West Nile Virus was ruled the cause of death, according to LCHD.
That makes 7 confirmed — with 3 pending — cases of West Nile Virus in Lamar County and one death. The Lamar County Health Department & Center for Disease Control hope that the number of these cases here, and all around our state, can be reduced, but it will take efforts from everyone.
Since there is no vaccine for the virus, the best way to fight it is to fight the mosquitos — bug repellent, staying away from highly mosquito-populated areas, etc. Spraying for the mosquito is taking place across the state.
According Prestridge at the Health Department, the mild winter and wet spring that we had, which resulted in more standing water in our area, is the reason the mosquitos are so bad this year, therefore making West Nile Virus more prominent — a seasonal epidemic, flaring up in summer and continuing into fall.
The first case of West Nile Virus in the United States was in 1999 in New York City, although the disease had been discovered in 1937 in the ‘West Nile’ nation of Uganda. From New York the disease has spread throughout the Western Hemisphere in the places mosquitos can survive.
West Nile Virus can be carried by many animals, but according to experts, not all animals that are susceptible to the virus, including humans, develop the levels adequate enough to transmit the disease to a non-infected mosquito, therefore, most animals are not vectors in the transmission of the disease.
The most typical resivoir host of WNV are Passerines, which are birds in the order that includes more than half the bird species. Over 5000 different species of Passerines, sometimes known as perching birds, have been identified, and these are the most typical carriers of the virus, according to Wikipedia.
Once the mosquito is infected by biting a carrier bird, the virus can then be taken to us, transferred as they bite. Although the disease is a serious illness, according to the Center for Disease Control, only about 1 in 150 people infected will develop the serious symptoms.
Actually, up to twenty percent of people only show mild symptoms, such as fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes a skin rash, and approximately eighty percent of people infected with WNV show no symptoms at all, according to the CDC.
Regardless of the statistics, West Nile Virus is a serious concern that has taken the life of one man in Lamar County and caused pain on several others. We must stay proactive to help cut the spreading of the virus. Avoid mosquito bites, they are most active at dusk and dawn, use insect repellent or stay indoors during these hours, if possible.
Article by Josh Allen/Managing Editor