Suspected West Nile Virus case update | Health
The following is an update today from Cochise Health and Social Services:
Public health staff from Cochise Health and Social Services promptly investigates all suspected cases of West Nile virus that are reported to the state of Arizona’s health department medical information management system by area health care providers. So far this season, four suspected cases of West Nile virus have been investigated. After careful review and consultation with several primary care and infectious disease physicians, West Nile virus was ruled out as a cause in three of the suspected cases. The fourth case was deemed to be probable West Nile virus. The “probable” West Nile virus diagnosis was based on the patient’s clinical symptoms. Laboratory findings from tests performed on that patient proved inconclusive.
There is currently no specific treatment for West Nile virus and no vaccine to prevent it. The greatest risk for infection with West Nile virus typically occurs from June through September, with cases peaking in mid-August.
Eighty percent of people who are infected with West Nile virus develop no or few symptoms, while 20 percent develop mild symptoms such as headache, joint pain, fever, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Less than 1 percent will develop neurological illnesses, such as encephalitis or meningitis, and develop paralysis or cognitive difficulties that can last for years, if not for life.
Those most ‘at risk’ are people older than 50 and those with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and organ transplants, are at greater risk for serious illness. Although most people with mild cases of West Nile virus will recover on their own, anyone who develops symptoms should call their doctor.
The best way to protect yourself from West Nile virus is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, which can pick up the disease from infected birds. The CDC recommends the following preventive steps:
• Use insect repellents when outside
• Wear long sleeves and pants from dawn to dusk
• Don't leave standing water outside in open containers, such as flowerpots, buckets and kiddie pools
• Install or repair windows and door screens
• Use air conditioning when possible
• If you own horses, consider vaccinating them against West Nile Virus
For more information, please visit our website at http://cochise.az.gov/health.