West Nile virus in South Louisville | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

West Nile virus in South Louisville

What you need to know as mosquito season peaks

Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness released a statement on Tuesday, Aug. 9, explaining mosquitoes found in a South Louisville location have tested positive for West Nile virus.

According to the release, no human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed this year in Louisville. In 2015 there were three human cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Although the risk of becoming sick or developing symptoms is low, here’s what you need to know about West Nile virus:

  • Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.
  • About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus recover, however fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
  • Less than 1 percent of people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis, which is an inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissue. Symptoms can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis.

There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for West Nile virus. Many physicians will recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

Health experts and local officials are recommending prevention as a frontline defense.

Here’s what you can do:

  • When outdoors, use insect repellent containing DEET or another insecticide and wear protective clothing
  • Install or repair window and door screens
  • Use air conditioning if possible
  • Remove standing water from around your home in areas such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths

West Nile virus is just one of the many viruses potentially carried by mosquitoes, including Zika. Learn how to prevent and protect against all types of mosquito-borne viruses.

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