Health & Safety

August 29, 2012

West Nile Virus prevention

Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — In the peak of summer dealing with itchy mosquito bites can be irritating, but getting bit by a mosquito with West Nile Virus can cause more than temporary irritation. It can be life-threatening.

As of Tuesday, Arizona has had seven cases of the disease that involved the nervous system and five that did not, and one death, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

WNV is now the most common cause of epidemic viral encephalitis in the United States, and will likely remain an important cause of neurological disease for the foreseeable future, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

The West Nile Virus was first isolated from a feverish adult woman in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937, according to The Centers for Disease Control. In 1957 the virus was identified as the cause of severe human meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain) in elderly patients during an outbreak in Israel.

Furthermore it is known that mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds obtain the virus as well as spread the virus to other animals such as horses. Unfortunately, when a horse is infected the virus multiplies in the horse’s blood system causing its brain to be infected.

Although the virus has been around for quite some time, Marian Budnik, 56th Medical Group registered nurse, said there are no vaccines available for use in humans.

For now, the virus can either cause no symptoms or mild symptoms in healthy adults said Rachael Perkins-Garner, 56th MDG registered nurse.

“Symptoms include fever, headache and body aches,” she said. “Some will develop a rash and or swollen lymph nodes. In severe cases it may cause headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and sometimes death.”

Additionally the virus can result in a severe and sometimes fatal illness known as West Nile encephalitis, which is inflammation and/or swelling of the brain. The risk of developing this illness is 50 percent higher in individuals who are 50 years or older, Perkins-Garner said.

Even though there is not much that can be done to prevent the existence of the virus. The risk of getting the virus is lower than some may think.

Statistics show that a person is more likely to be killed by lightning or a drunk driver than by contracting the virus, Perkins-Garner said.

“Remember, not every mosquito bite means you are infected,” she said. “West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds, and is not transmitted directly between humans or between animals and humans.”

While those who stay indoors are the least at risk for contracting the virus, the CDC said there are ways to lower the risk of catching the virus even while outside.

The CDC recommends:

  • Minimize free-standing water around the home. Mosquitoes breed in standing water so check for water in cans, buckets, drums or any other containers, and empty any unused swimming pool or water feature.
  • Change water, at least twice a week in flower vases, bird baths, planters and pet water bowls to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
  • Avoid outdoor activities around dawn or after dusk, because mosquitoes are most active at night.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET. Remember to follow manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the use of DEET with children.
  • Wear clothing that covers both arms and legs then spray clothing with insect repellent.



All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

The new fight: Writing cyber into the science of war

Every year, the Aspen Security Forum brings together the top minds in defense, intelligence and homeland security. This year, more than ever, the conversation is turning to cybersecurity – protecting computer networks and everything attached to them. Cyber is constantly changing the way conflicts and combat unfold. Here, former U.S. Navy Rear Adm. William Leigher offers insights...
 
 

TRICARE now provides breast pumps, lactation counseling

Mothers that choose to breast feed their infants might be surprised to learn that TRICARE updated its coverage to include breast pumps and supplies as of July 1. TRICARE can aid expecting Desert Lightning Team mothers through the process to obtain a breast pump and supplies. There are multiple methods to receive a pump or...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samuel Morse)

Airmen to keep focus on safety at home

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — Airmen are constantly trained to be safe in everything while at work, but how safe are we when we arrive home? According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 93,200 unintentional i...
 

 

Mental health: To go or not to go

  CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada (AFNS) — (This feature is part of the “Through Airmen’s Eyes” series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.) The clinic buildings themselves aren’t scary, but add the words ‘mental health,’ and most people will avoid them like they contain tigers on the loose. That’s...
 
 

PT exemptions for new AF mothers to increase

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The six-month deferment for female Airmen to accomplish their fitness assessments following childbirth will be increased to 12 months to align with recent changes to the deployment deferments, Air Force officials announced July 14. The deployment deferment policy, as part of the Air Force’s 2015 Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, increases the deferment...
 
 

Keeping Airmen healthy and informed through Operation Supplement Safety

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — For peak performance, Airmen should eat healthy and exercise regularly. But in the quest to gain an “edge,” many Airmen resort to dietary supplements. Enter Operation Supplement Safety, or OPSS. This Defense Department educational campaign, accessible at www.hprc-online.org/opss, educates the warfighter and healthcare provider on responsible dietary supplement us...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>