West Nile Virus
Up until the 1990s, the West Nile virus was virtually unheard of. The disease existed, but it was limited to the small West Nile District of Uganda, and was considered only a minor risk to humans.
That has changed drastically over the past several years, with the virus spreading literally around the world. The first U.S. case of West Nile was reported in New York City in 1999, and the virus quickly spread throughout the country. In 2012 alone, there were 5,387 confirmed cases of West Nile in the U.S., resulting in 243 deaths. People who survive the illness are often left with long-term damage to the nervous system, resulting in tremors, seizures, or the loss of memory and motor skills.
West Nile Symptoms
If someone becomes sick with the West Nile virus, it is important that they seek medical
treatment as quickly as possible. The West Nile virus can cause multiple different diseases,
which means the symptoms can be wide-ranging. Symptoms which may indicate a West Nile
• Body aches
• Neck stiffness
• Skin rash
• Sore throat
• Muscle weakness
Roughly 80 percent of all people infected with the West Nile virus show no symptoms at all. The only negative impact of such symptomless infections is that they can possibly spread the virus to others.
How West Nile is Spread
The West Nile virus cannot be spread through touch or other types of casual contact. For an
infection to occur, the virus must come into contact with a person’s blood.
Though there have been a few cases of the West Nile virus spreading through blood transfusions or organ transplants, the vast majority of infections are caused by mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become carriers of the virus after feeding on infected blood. Once infected, they can spread the virus to any other people or animals that they feed on.
The West Nile virus is not limited to humans, and can infect pets, livestock, and wildlife. In fact, most cases of West Nile result from mosquitoes feeding on infected birds; mosquitoes are not likely to become carriers of the virus after biting infected humans or other animals.
Preventing West Nile Infections
Since the West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes, you can avoid catching the disease by
controlling the mosquito population and protecting yourself from mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes need a body of water to reproduce, so eliminating standing water is one way to
reduce their numbers. You can also use safe pesticides, such as the organic PCO Choice, to kill outdoor mosquitoes.
Since you cannot eliminate all mosquitoes, it is very important to use an insect repellant when going outdoors during mosquito season. BEST YET Organic bug spray is highly effective at repelling mosquitoes, without using any harmful chemicals. You can also use TickShield, which is a stronger, longer-lasting version of the same all-natural repellant.