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West Nile Found In Lawrence County
Updated September 22, 2014 7:14 AM | Filed under: Health
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(BEDFORD) - West Nile virus, which can lead to potentially deadly infections, has been found in two pools of mosquitoes in Lawrence County.

Brenda Cummins of the Lawrence County Health Department reported late Friday afternoon that the department had just been notified that two pools of mosquitoes collected on Aug. 26 by Indiana State Department of Health workers tested positive for the virus.

West Nile virus can be transmitted to a human by a mosquito that has first bitten an infected bird. A person who is bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms three to 15 days after the bite, according to the state health department.

Most people who get infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms or mild symptoms, according to the state health department. But a few individuals will have a more severe form of the disease, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord). Health officials say that individuals older than 50 are at higher risk for serious illness.

Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness or paralysis, nausea, vomiting, sore joints and confusion.

Mild cases of West Nile encephalitis may cause a slight fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, conjunctivitis (irritation of the eye), or headache. Patients with mild symptoms are likely to recover completely and do not require any specific medication or laboratory tests.

More severe infections are marked by rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, coma or paralysis, the health department reports.

In some individuals, West Nile Virus can cause permanent neurological damage or death.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus, and no vaccine is available for humans. In severe cases, intensive therapy including intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support, prevention of secondary infections (such as pneumonia) and nursing care are needed.

Culex mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile virus, breed in places like ditches, open septic systems, discarded tires, unused wading pools and other containers, particularly if they are in the shade.

The health department advises people to avoid places and times when mosquitoes are active and to use an insect repellant containing DEET.



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