West Nile Virus

What You Need to Know

West Nile Virus

When you think of mosquito-borne diseases, the West Nile Virus might be the most commonly identified. While it was first identified in Uganda in 1937, it wasn’t discovered in the United States until 1999. This flavivirus is spread when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then goes on to bite a person. Although many people are bitten by mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus, most do not know they’ve been exposed. Few people develop severe disease or even notice any symptoms at all.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

When experiencing a mild case, an infected person might experience:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Vomiting

These symptoms can last for three to six days on average and generally do not need further medical attention after diagnosis.

More severe forms of the disease, bring on symptoms including:

  • Confusion or change inability to think clearly
  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stiff neck
  • Weakness of one arm or leg

If you experience any of these severe symptoms, seek medical help straight away. When left unattended, the West Nile Virus can be life-threatening.

West Nile Virus in Indiana

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, West Nile is the most commonly reported mosquito-borne disease in the state, although the number is still extremely low. Foruntately, 80% of people who do get this disease do not develop any symptoms. You can track the incidents of infection using the county maps.

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