Should You Be Worried About West Nile Virus Right Now?

Even should you really feel a cool breeze within the air, summer season isn’t precisely over—and the bugs that include it are apparently nonetheless thriving, mosquitoes included. In response to a press release from the New York Metropolis Division of Well being and Psychological Hygiene (NYCDOH), two instances of West Nile virus have been reported just lately—one in Brooklyn and one in Queens—and lots of extra mosquitoes within the space are carrying the virus this 12 months. Current testing detected 1,068 West Nile–constructive mosquito samples collected throughout the town’s 5 boroughs. That is the very best quantity ever recorded, up from 779 final 12 months, per the assertion.

However this isn’t the primary time questions and considerations about West Nile virus have popped up this summer season. As of August 9, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) says 54 instances of West Nile virus illness have been reported all through the nation.

It’s value noting that West Nile virus is the main reason for mosquito-borne illness within the continental US—however does that imply you’ll want to fear about your subsequent itchy chew? Under, what you must take note as mosquitoes proceed to harass you thru the early fall months.

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How does West Nile virus unfold?

West Nile virus spreads when an contaminated mosquito bites an individual and begins to feed on their blood. Whereas that is the first means West Nile virus is transmitted, it has additionally been unfold in laboratory settings, throughout organ transplants, throughout blood transfusions, and from mom to child (throughout being pregnant, supply, or breastfeeding), although these situations are uncommon, per the CDC. West Nile virus isn’t unfold human-to-human the best way some viruses are; as an illustration, it’s not unfold by way of touching, coughing, or sneezing.

There isn’t a vaccine for West Nile virus, nor are there particular remedies for the sickness that may be brought on by the virus, Nicholas Defelice, PhD, a researcher at Mount Sinai who works on forecast fashions for West Nile virus, tells SELF. Most individuals who develop into contaminated with the virus (about 8 out of 10) gained’t develop any signs, Dr. Defelice says. If you find yourself being the 1 in 5 individuals who do get sick from the virus, it’s possible you’ll expertise a fever, headache, physique aches, joint ache, vomiting, diarrhea, or a pores and skin rash, per the CDC.

About 1 in 150 individuals with West Nile virus develop extreme sickness that impacts the central nervous system. This might result in encephalitis (mind irritation) or meningitis (irritation of the buildings that encompass the spinal wire and mind); about 1 in 10 individuals who develop extreme sickness from West Nile virus die, per the CDC. Extreme sickness can happen irrespective of your age, however individuals over 60 are extra at-risk, as are individuals who have obtained an organ transplant and folks with sure well being circumstances, together with most cancers, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney illness.

So…must you be anxious about West Nile virus proper now?

Look, we get it: Any information of an sickness unfold by a blood-sucking bug can really feel a bit unsettling, particularly after what the world has been by way of over the previous two years (and even the final two weeks). But it surely’s essential to do not forget that West Nile virus is comparatively uncommon, although it’s the most typical sickness unfold by mosquitoes: In 2020, there have been 731 confirmed instances nationwide, per the newest information accessible from the CDC. Examine that to Lyme illness, of which there are roughly 30,000 reported instances (and an estimated complete of 476,000 instances) a 12 months.

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