Elkhart County confirms presence of West Nile Virus

By: Newscenter 16 staff Email
By: Newscenter 16 staff Email

West Nile Virus (WNV) has been confirmed in Elkhart County.

It was collected in a mosquito pool in Goshen on August 1. This has been expected since all surrounding counties have had mosquitoes that tested positive for WNV.

Now is the time of year when the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases to humans is more likely and individuals should wear repellant and/or long sleevese and long pants if out at dawn or dusk.

Residents are encouraged to empty outdoor containers that may have collected water and pose the risk of potential mosquito breeding sites. This may include flower pots, kiddy pools or even blocked rain gutters.

Though most people have no symptoms of WNV, about 20% of individuals develop a mild infection known as West Nile Fever. The symptoms of West Nile Fever include:

-Fever
-Headache
-Body aches
-Fatigue
-Skin rash (occasionally)
-Swollen lymph glands (occasionally)
-Eye pain (occassionally)

In less than 1% of infected people, the virus causes a serious neurological infection. Such infection may include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or of the brain and surrounding membranes (meningeoncephalitis). Serious infection may also include infection and inflammation of the spinal cord and acute flaccid paralysis- a sudden weakness in your arms, legs, or breathing muscles. Signs and symptoms of these diseases include:

-High fever
-Severe headache
-Stiff neck
-Disorientation or confusion
-Stupor or coma
-Tremors or muscle jerking
-Lack of coordination
-Convulsions
-Pain
-Partial paralysis or sudden weakness

Signas and symptoms of West Nile fever usually last a few days, but signs and symtoms of encephalitis or meningitis can linger for weeks, and certain neurological effects, such as muscle weakness, may be permanent.

Mild symtoms of West Nile fever usually resolve on their own. If you experience signs or symptoms of serious infection, such as severe headaches, a stiff neck or an altered mental state, seek medical attention righta way. A serious WNV infection generally requires hospitalization.


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