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In devastating news, California has confirmed its first human death due to West Nile Virus (WVN) in 2021. As reported by Xinhua news agency, Tomas J. Aragon, head of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), stated that further cases of the deadly virus can be spread to people and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito, had been reported. He urged people to take necessary precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
WNV had been found in 45 dead birds from six counties and 177 mosquito samples from 13 counties as of July 9, according to the CDPH, who said that high weather this month is leading to an increase in mosquito populations and the danger of viral transmission to people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile Virus is the primary cause of mosquito-borne illnesses in the continental United States. It is most often transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. WNV cases arise during mosquito season, which begins in the summer and lasts into the fall. There are no vaccinations or medicines available to prevent or cure WNV in humans. Fortunately, the majority of persons infected with WNV do not become ill. One in every five persons who become infected has a fever and other symptoms.
According to CDC, most people infected with the virus do not develop symptoms. One in five people infected with the virus develop a fever and few other symptoms, including:
People who experience these symptoms recover completely but may experience fatigue and weakness for a long time. In severe cases, the condition may affect the central nervous system such as encephalitis or meningitis. However, only one in 150 people develop serious symptoms. People with severe illness may experience:
CDC states that people with underlying diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease are at a higher risk of developing severe illness. Also, people over 60 years of age are at a greater risk of the West Nile Virus. Recovery from a serious illness might take weeks or months. Some impacts on the central nervous system may be long-term.
WMV is impacted by several factors, according to the CDPH, including temperature, the quantity and kinds of birds and mosquitoes in a region, and the level of WNV immunity in birds. While the risk of serious disease is minimal for most people, a small percentage of people, fewer than 1%, can develop major brain disorders such as encephalitis or meningitis.
(with inputs from IANS)
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