More than the average flu

Sarah Sztuk

Now that the summer is coming to an end and fall is right around the corner, there is more to be aware of than just the change of seasons.

This is the time of year that most people are infected with West Nile Virus.

Generally found among humans and birds in Africa, West Nile Virus is a disease that infects mosquitoes, birds, horses and can even be transmitted to humans.

The Center for Disease Control reports that most people who become infected will not have any type of symptoms. Only 20% of infected people will experience the symptoms that happen when West Nile Virus develops into West Nile Fever.

People infected with West Nile Fever will experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body ache and some will even have a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

If infected with a severe form of West Nile Virus known as West Nile Encephalitis or meningitis, people can experience headache, high fever, neck stiffness, coma, convulsions and even paralysis. The CDC estimates that 1 out of 150 persons infected with West Nile Virus will develop this strand of the disease.

It can take three to 14 days before an infected person may even notice symptoms.

With the mild form of the virus symptoms can last a few days, while the symptoms of the more severe forms can last weeks, and neurological effects are sometimes permanent?

People who think they have been infected with West Nile Virus you see a doctor.

While there is no particular treatment for West Nile infection doctors may need to monitor people depending on the severity of their infection.

Several companies have scientists hard at work to develop vaccines for this virus.

To reduce your risk of becoming infected the best thing to do is to prevent mosquito bites.

If students plan to be outdoors they should use a long lasting insect repellent. Mosquitoes can bite through clothing so it helps to spray clothing as well.

Wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants prevents bites as well.

Mosquitoes mostly bite during the hours of dusk to dawn so it is best to be extra cautious if outside during that time.

Another way to reduce the risk of mosquitoes in the area is to drain standing water outside of the house. This will prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

There has only been one reported case of West Nile Virus in Connecticut. It is important to try and combat this disease before it spreads.

For more information on West Nile Virus students can talk doctors at the Student Health Center 24 hours a day.