West Nile virus: Mosquito season has lead to the rise of this serious disease

Mosquito season is officially here and with it comes a whole host of possible infectious diseases, including the West Nile virus.

States across the US have been seeing an uptick in new cases of the West Nile virus, with several, including Delaware and Massachusetts, detecting their very first in years. Meanwhile, in Iowa, The Daily Iowan reported that the Johnson County Public Health Surveillance Program recently found a pool of mosquitos that also tested positive for the virus.

Given that we are in the peak of mosquito season—which starts in the summer and goes on till fall—experts believe that there are a hoard of infected blood-suckers already circulating in the community. They’re advising everyone to lather on the mosquito-repellent to avoid getting bitten.

What is the West Nile virus?

West Nile virus is a disease that is transmitted predominantly by infected mosquitoes who get it from birds who have the virus.

There are currently no methods of prevention or treatment, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people who are infected have little to no side effects. 1 in 5 develop mild symptoms such as fever and headache, however 1 in 150 people develop a more serious and sometimes 'fatal illness.'

The disease was first detected in the West Nile district in Uganda, but it came to the US in 1999 and triggered an outbreak that lasted for 10 years. Since then, sporadic cases have been reported across various states in the country.

According to the CDC, as of 7 September, a total of 210 cases have been recorded in 2021. The highest number of cases have occurred in Arizona and Colorado.

How to stay safe during mosquito season

It’s impossible to tell if a mosquito has the virus, so the best call of action is to reduce the chances of getting bitten altogether. Experts at CDC suggest using an effective insect repellent with one of these active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, lemon eucalyptus oil, 2-undecanone, and para-menthane-diol. You should also make sure your body is protected by wearing full sleeve shirts and long pants.

Coronavirus: Could Mosquitoes Be Responsible for the Spreading the Disease This Summer? Coronavirus: Could Mosquitoes Be Responsible for the Spreading the Disease This Summer?