West Nile Virus Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Throughout the United States, reports of the presence of West Nile Virus continue to pile up – and now there are reports of humans being infected by the virus. Infected birds have been found in Michigan, infected mosquitoes in Arizona, and crows are carrying the disease in Pennsylvania.

Humans are being infected from mosquitoes carrying the disease

A 20-year-old man in the San Diego area has been diagnosed with the virus according to the San Diego Union Tribune. The man had been suffering from meningitis and is now recovering at home. This is the 10th case of West Nile Virus in the local county this year. (15 people contracted the virus in 2007.) Over 78 cases have been reported in the state of California with virus samples testing positive at record levels.

Susanne Kluh, scientific and technical services director for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, told Xinhua News that there are likely many more cases than are being reported:

Roughly 80 percent of West Nile virus human infection cases show no symptoms of the disease, while about 20 percent show mild symptoms that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting — things that are sometimes chalked up as a simple “summer fever,” Kluh said.

With no known treatment, the Centers for Disease Control recommends hospitalization when necessary so nursing care, intravenous fluids and maintenance of any secondary infections can be applied. Several trials are currently underway for a West Nile Virus (WNV) cure, but no publicly-available “magic pill” is ready to go to market.

In neighboring Nevada, the first reported cases has appeared in Reno, and in Texas, The Dallas Morning News is reporting that an East Dallas resident has now joined the “club” of West Nile Virus infected persons. Local governments have stepped up their spraying for mosquitoes which typically carry the virus from animals and birds to humans through a mosquito bite.

In Stamford, Connecticut, news station WNLK is saying that a local man has become the first to contract the virus.

A local endomologist was not surprised.

“We’ve seen repeated cases of West Nile Virus-infected mosquitos in Stamford since trapping began this season,” says Dr. Andreadis. “We continue to see more too. Stamford has the distinction of having the most West Nile Virus activity anywhere in the state right now.”

Dr. Andreadis said that he expected more West Nile Virus cases to be reported in the next few weeks.

August 30, 2008 – 3:51 pm

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