More Cases Of West Nile Virus Detected In U.S.

DeKalb County officials announced on Friday that they caught a mosquito that tested positive for the West Nile virus. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this is the first mosquito with the virus caught in DeKalb County this year. There have been no humans affected by the virus in the county this year.

The DeKalb County Board of Health says they “regularly trap mosquitoes and test them for viruses as part of a comprehensive mosquito control program.” They’ve released a list of tips to help residents avoid mosquitos. The tips include removing standing water, trim foliage, and wear DEET and long pants and shirts when venturing outdoors.

This latest case of West Nile comes amid a string of cities having discovered West Nile virus in their mosquito population. Mass Live reports that Belchertown and Ware found mosquitoes near each city’s town square. In Missouri, Jefferson County reports “two collections of adult mosquitoes tested positive for the virus,” according to KMOV.

The first human case of West Nile this summer was reported in Manhattan in late June. CBS Local notes that the 50-year-old resident of Manhattan “was hospitalized earlier this month with encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain tissue, and has since been discharged.” New York City officials note that West Nile virus is typically detected much later in the year, with cases beginning in late July.

The Omaha World-Herald reported today their first case of West Nile virus for the season. The man was not hospitalized. Scotts Bluff County notes that it has seen an increased mosquito population as “the area is home to irrigation canals and the North Platte River.” Lancaster and Phelps Counties also report positive testing for West Nile.

West Nile is spread through the bite of female mosquitoes, who are the primary carriers of the virus. According to NPR, “it was discovered in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937, and later found in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.” Though 80 percent of people are usually unaffected by the bite, those who experience symptoms often report flu-like symptoms that include “headaches, body aches, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness.” One in five people develops more severe diseases such as encephalitis, an infection of the brain, or meningitis, an infection of the brain tissue. Though capable of causing severe symptoms, it’s reported that only about 10 percent of people die from West Nile. According to the Health Department, there is no vaccine or cure.