The number of West Nile virus cases continues to climb in Douglas County. Health Director Dr. Adi Pour says there have been 38 confirmed so far. Typically there are 7 to 10 a year in the county. She says many times a person infected shows no symptoms but there a small percentage that reacts badly.
Dr. Pour says, “Usually we say one percent of the population has this neuroivasive symptom. That means it could be meningitis. It could be encephalitis. You have a really high fever and will be hospitalized. What is bothersome to me is that after hospitalization, we don’t have any treatment or we don’t have a vaccine for West Nile, but many of the patients need rehabilitation afterwards.
Dr. Pour says about 20 percent of those infected suffer from West Nile fever. Symptoms are flu-like and can last several days. The elderly and those with compromised health conditions are more at risk for showing symptoms.
There are about 50 species of mosquitoes and only one certain variety carries the virus and they are typically only active at dawn and dusk. That is why it is so important to wear long sleeves and pants and use repellent when going outdoors during those hours. It is also important to drain any standing water on your property as that serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Once infected a person typically has immunity to West Nile for life.