County reports sixth human case of West Nile

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To date, 148 birds have tested positive for West Nile Virus in 44 of the state's 83 counties.

Most people - 70-80 percent - who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.

The statement also added that most of the people who were infected by the West Nile virus did not show any symptoms of the illness.

For those that do become ill, symptoms can vary significantly to include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache.

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There is no specific treatment for the virus, and care is based on symptoms. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. The virus can lead to encephalitis or meningitis, life-threatening swelling of the brain. The elderly, people with compromised immune systems or people with other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease. Dr. Kristy Murray, an associate professor with National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston said, "We are hoping our research findings will help encourage a push to develop a vaccine that can help prevent disease and premature death".

Eight horses have been infected with West Nile in seven counties, including Clinton and Jackson counties. In a very small number of cases, West Nile virus has been spread through blood transfusions; organ transplants; and from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding. The Town of BWG has historically been identified as an area with increased risk for the virus, and for many years has instituted a program of larviciding stormwater catch basins, to reduce mosquito populations and provide extra protection to the public.

Dr. Soule said that, although there is no cure for an infection with West Nile virus, and no vaccine is now available, there are ways to prevent it. The CDC said that West Nile virus has been recorded in all states in the continental United States and Canada.

Vaccination is the best way to protect horses from both WNV and Eastern Equine encephalitis, the press release said.

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