A resident of South Bay resident died from neuroinvasive illness in Los Angeles County. This mosquito-borne disease is caused by the West Nile virus. US public health officials have confirmed this death by explaining that the patient was in the hospital under observation but he couldn’t make it. However, they have not shared any further details about this patient.
West Nile virus spreads through mosquitos and is a serious threat to health. After conforming to this death, the healthcare officials recommend residents of Los Angeles country to look for mosquito breeding conditions. The residents must cross-check for standing water which is often a mosquito breeding site whether inside or outside their house.
It is necessary to follow the precautions such as using an EPA-registered mosquito repellent product in the evening and night. The peak mosquito season in Los Angeles County is between June to November. So it means this is the peak time for West Nile virus to spread.
Prevalence of West Nile Virus cases this year
In 2019 alone, there were 112 confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in California. There are three deaths reported in Amador, Fresno, and Imperial counties. In L.A. County, there are nine cases in suspicion of West Niles disease by local health authorities.
In L.A. County, the first West Nile virus case was in highlights back in the year 2004. There was a gradual increase in the prevalence and of this virus in the last few years. There were 2017 positive cases all leading to deaths in 2017, as per county data.
Normally, all these people suffering from West Niles virus experience no obvious symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that only 1 in 5 people infected with the virus can develop a fever and some other minor symptoms.
Among these people, one in 150 positive cases can develop a serious illness, which affects the central nervous system, and cause extreme conditions such as encephalitis, meningitis etc. the inflammation of the brain and its membranes connecting to brain and the spinal cord is a serious condition that often leads to death.
The high time of West Nile spread is summer. But almost 80% of the people never show any conditions. It means the symptoms only show up in 20% of the people in the form of fever, headache, diarrhea, fatigue, etc.
Unfortunately there is no vaccine available. Neither we have any specific antiviral treatments for West Nile virus infection. It may take weeks and even months to recover from West Niles virus infections. Moreover, it leaves permanent effects on the patient’s central nervous system, says CDC.
Risk factors for patients
Age is probably the biggest risk factor for all West Nile virus infections. It is more likely to affect older people, usually older than 50 years. Also, the symptoms for old age patients are extremely harsh. Some particular medical conditions also increase the West Nile infection risk for people. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, kidney problems, and low immunity. The risk is reduced during the winter, as it is not possible for the mosquitos to stand cold temperatures.
The healthcare agencies encourage getting help as soon as the symptoms appear. At an earlier stage, it is somehow manageable. If any signs of virus appear in any surrounding area, it is necessary to follow the pest control strategy before the virus spreads and causes more deaths.