West Nile Virus in Northern Kentucky
In the last decade, West Nile virus has emerged in the temperate regions of Europe and North America, including Northern Kentucky. West Nile can be a serious threat to human and animal health. The most serious effect of West Nile is fatal encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain, in humans and horses. West Nile also kills certain species of domestic and wild birds.
Symptoms of West Nile
Most often if you are exposed to the West Nile virus, you will not show any symptoms.
Symptoms of a mild infection: fever, headache, body aches, and swollen lymph glands.
Symptoms of a severe infection: high fever, sever headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and coma.
Contact your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms. If severe symptoms develop, see your doctor immediately.
Avoid mosquitoes, avoid West Nile
The West Nile virus
is transferred to humans through bites from an infected mosquito.
Follow these tips to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding areas:
- Survey property for areas of standing water.
- Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires,
buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and
hold water. Do not
allow water to accumulate in the containers for more than two days.
- Be aware that mosquitoes are most active at
dawn, dusk and early evening. Stay inside during these times if possible.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Report swimming pools that are neglected and
in a state of disrepair to the Health Department.
- Spray exposed areas of skin and clothing with
repellents containing permethrin, DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picardin or
oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed
skin. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
- Don’t forget your pets - Dogs and cats also
are susceptible to diseases, such as West Nile Virus and other illnesses spread by
mosquitoes. Pet owners should use a veterinarian-recommended mosquito and tick
repellent. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
More information on prevention
West Nile virus was first isolated from a woman in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937. The virus was recognized as a cause of severe human meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain) in elderly patients during an outbreak in Israel in 1957. The disease was first noted in horses in Egypt and France in the early 1960s. West Nile virus first appeared in North America in 1999, with encephalitis reported in humans and horses. The subsequent spread in the United States is an important milestone in the evolving history of this virus.