3 Cases of Human West Nile In Alachua County
ALACHUA COUNTY - A deadly virus is back in town. Three cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in alachua county. Its a disease that can become fatal in severe cases. These are the first human cases in the county in almost a decade.
The only reason these three individuals found out they had the west nile virus was because they attempted to donate blood. It can be hard to tell if you've been infected. Experts say people usually have symptoms similar to the flu, if any; as 85 percent of people never even show signs.
The West Nile Virus has caused about 150 deaths in the United States this year. This why the Alachua County Health department is trying to figure out when, where and how these three people could have contracted the virus. The individuals showed antibodies to West Nile Virus but it's not known whether this a recent or a past infection. However, Paul Myers an administrator with the Alachua County Health Department says Alachua County continues to be under a mosquito borne illness advisory, something that started in september after the virus was detected in sentinel chickens.
Myers says, "We have had significant mosquito borne disease activity in Alachua County starting after Tropical Storm Debby and it continues. What individuals need to do is exercise personal barrier precaution." He adds that the weather has a lot to do with it. "We had a very mild winter last year followed by a severe drought which really concentrated the mosquitoes and the birds very closely together. And that is significant because this is a mosquito bird cycle," Myers says.
Although cooler weather has reduced mosquito activity, Myers says the risk continues until very cold temperatures have been met.
High fevers, headache, and muscle aches can all be signs of the west nile virus. Myers says, "However during this time of year it can be confused with the flu. So i would advice citizens is, if they are experiencing any of these symptoms and it becomes bad enough, then they should seek medical attention."
Alachua County Health Department recommends people stay away from standing water like the retention pool behind me as they attract mosquitoes. To protect yourself from mosquitoes the alachua county health department encourages people to remember "Drain and Cover." Drain any standing water from buckets and garbage cans that may be around your house and cover your doors and windows with screens.
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