West Nile Virus Found in Randolph County

by Leesa Friend

News Gazette Publisher

    Well it’s that time of year again when everyone is out enjoying a football game, a bon fire or working in the yard. But so are those pesky little mosquitoes, but beware, West Nile has found our county.

    In a recent conversation with Randolph County Health Specialist Scot Enghaus, he stated that a case of West Nile had been reported. But warns that it is only one case. He however did give further information as to the spread, the symptoms and the treatment of West Nile.

What is West Nile Virus?

   West Nile is a virus that is spread by mosquitos that may cause severe illness in people.

How is West Nile Virus spread?

   Mosquitoes spread the disease to humans by biting a bird with the virus, and then biting a human. Humans that are bitten may show signs of illness 3-15 days after being bitten.

Who is at risk for West Nile Virus?

    Anyone who gets a mosquito bit is at risk of getting a West Nile fever; people over 50 years of age have the highest risk of getting severe disease.

What are the symptoms of West Nile Virus?

    There are no symptoms in most people. Most people  (8 out of 10) infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.

    Febrile illness (fever) in some people. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

    Serious symptoms in a few people. About 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

    •Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

    •Severe illness can occur in people of any age; however, people over 60 years of age are at greater risk. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk.

    •Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months. Some effects to the central nervous system might be permanent.

    •About 1 out of 10  people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.

   For more information on Randolph County’s West Nile Virus or other health related issues contact the Randolph County Health Department at 765-584-1155.