Many communities in Texas have taken action to prevent the West Nile virus infection after a 13-year-old boy died. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this virus is carried by birds which transmit it to mosquitoes.
That is why it is essential for citizens to protect themselves against the disease-carrying insects. It is worth mentioning that the West Nile virus has very rarely been spread by pregnant mothers to their babies as well as through organ transplants and blood transfusions.
When it comes to risks, anyone can contract the virus, but the most vulnerable are children, seniors with over 60 years of age, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems.
Although there is no current vaccine to prevent this disease, people can avoid getting bitten by a following a simple set of rules. First, make sure you remove any source of standing water near your house, such as bird baths, pet water dishes, pool covers, buckets, gutters, and flower pots.
Also, citizens should wear protective clothing including long-sleeved shirts, socks, and trousers. Go for thick materials because mosquitoes can bite through clothing as well.
But most importantly, any local market has mosquito deterrents that will keep the disease-carrying insects at bay. The best products should contain IR3535, Picaridin, DEET, and lemon eucalyptus.
Another important aspect is that people should avoid spending time outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Plus, door and window screens are also excellent.
Last but not least, citizens should avoid walking around bushes and in any wooded areas until health officials solve the problem.
The West Nile virus incubation period ranges between two days and two weeks. Unfortunately, most people who get infected do not experience any symptoms making this illness hard to detect.
However, one in five people will experience rashes, diarrhea, nausea, joint pain, body aches, and headache, whereas one percent of those who get infected suffer the severe consequences of the neurologic disease similar to meningitis, which can be deadly.
The only available medication to deal with West Nile virus are pain killers and the proper medical assistance that patients receive when they are hospitalized.
Also, health officials and authorities urge citizens to report any dead birds as they might have been infected with the West Nile virus.
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