The authorities have expressed their concern over the two documented deaths attributed to West Nile Virus. While the first one was reported in Addison, the second one was discovered to be in Chicago. 31 cases have so far popped up in Cook County alone and have been keeping authorities on their toes ever since. However, the numbers are still under control compared to last year as per CDC data.
West Nile Virus is transmitted due to the bite of Culex mosquitoes. Since it is the same strain that further expands to the contraction of Zika and Dengue virus, the community is as cautious as ever. After the winter, there is usually a spike in their number due to unwanted stagnant water and unclean drainage systems which are a major cause of concern for the public. Authorities have since issued SOPs for counties to follow and for the public to lean on.
As per the civic body website, there is only a slight chance that any person bitten by an infected mosquito would develop the disease. The symptoms would range from high fever to diarrhea and rashes. Additionally, some cases escalate further and metastasize into meningitis. Usually, the elderly who have a compromised immune system are prone to fatality when it comes to West Nile Virus. Both the fatality cases were men above the ages of 60 and 70 respectively. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has asked the public to look for symptoms closely and anything that stands out should be immediately reported including joint pains.
Moreover, the Westmont civic body website also urges people to follow the four D’s to help reduce cases. They include Drain, Defend, Dress, and Dusk to Dawn. People should keep their drainage systems unexposed and clean. People should also not forget to carry a strong insect repellant, preferably with DEET to protect themselves. A culex mosquito is known to lay 200-300 eggs in a day and therefore changing pet and bird feeders becomes crucial. Furthermore, they should try and cover up their hands and feet to avoid the bite. Also look out for evenings and mornings when the insect activity is at its peak.
Each county has been instructed to look out for its Personal Protection Index. PPI determines the risk a certain ailment poses to the community as a whole and is updated every week. Currently, the WNV stands at 3 which means it is on high alert and people must not take the situation lightly. WNV was first reported in 1999 and thus has been wreaking havoc all over the nation. So far over 4% of the total infected have succumbed to death while the unofficial numbers are still unknown. Though not rampant in children, parents have asked to exercise caution while visiting parks and other public playgrounds during the peak timings with children. They are also instructed to build up their child’s immunity through a balanced diet.
No schools or public institutions have been instructed to be closed. The hospital authorities confirmed that the healthcare workers are available in plenty and there is no scarcity. People should take care of their backyard which is the primary breeding ground as far as CDC is concerned. The authorities are closely monitoring the situation and will issue an alert in case a crisis arises. An official from the CDC confirmed that the numbers are expected to go down as the fall ends since the mosquitoes cannot survive in the harsh winters. With just a few months left for winter, they are hopeful that the condition is likely to be harmless.
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