West Nile Numbers Worry Health Officials

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

West Nile Virus is becoming a hot topic again this year, only now, health officials’ say more people are being affected by the virus.

Several people around the state have already been diagnosed with the potentially deadly illness and health officials fear the virus may be spreading.

Right now, health officials say this is a record year for the West Nile Virus. They are concerned that with the large number of cases this early in the season more people may become seriously ill and possibly die from the illness.

More cases are being reported this year than ever before and health officials are taking notice. The virus can cause a person to become seriously ill and need medical treatment.

Dr. Rick Weber with Flower's Hospital said, "It's very dangerous. It’s transmitted by the mosquito and it’s prevalent in this part of the country."

Doctors say a person who has contracted the West Nile Virus would feel flu like symptoms, which would persist for about six days.

Weber added, "West Nile Virus has symptoms of fever, chills, fatigue and nausea."

The Centers for Disease Control has issued statements encouraging people to protect themselves from mosquitoes by wearing insect repellent.

They also have released this statement, "The Center for Disease Control is working with state and local health departments to prepare and prevent new cases of West Nile Virus."

Right now, patients diagnosed with West Nile are given antibiotics and fluids; however, the CDC is working on developing a vaccine to prevent people from contracting the virus.

Doctors say if you have any of the symptoms mentioned in the story that persist for more than a few days, it is important to see a doctor.

Last year, one person in Alabama died from the virus. So far this year no deaths have been reported in the state.

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