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.


 
 

 
(Air Force photos by Senior Airman Camilla Elizeu)

Take on the Marine Challenge

Airmen test their strength and abilities through the ‘Maneuver Under Fire’ drill, here. The ‘Maneuver Under Fire’ Drill is one of three components of the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test and is designed to measure funct...
 
 

Surviving the Summer in Arizona

With summer on the way, there are a few extra precautions that Airmen and their families should take before heading outdoors. Tech. Sgt. Mathew Anderson, 355th Fighter Wing ground safety noncommissioned officer, and Cindy Davis, the Health and Wellness Center’s community dietician share helpful tips to keep Airmen safe during the Arizona summer. “When school...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sivan Veazie)

D-M Airmen resuscitate CPR skills

Throughout the year, D-M cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructors host training classes for Airmen and civilian employees who require the certification for various aspects of their jobs, including physical training leaders, de...
 

 

Installation driving privileges and suspensions

The 355th Security Forces Squadron would like to ensure the public is aware of an important topic concerning installation driving privileges and how to ensure you keep the right to drive on base. “Part of our job is ensuring the base populace is educated and aware of our base traffic code and in particular, driving...
 
 

Colon Cancer screening saves lives through early detection

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., – Colorectal Cancer, or Colon Cancer, occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel and the rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. Colon Cancer, when discovered early, is highly treatable. Even if it spreads into nearby lymph nodes, surgical treatment...
 
 

April: National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

It’s been 40 years since former President Richard Nixon signed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. Child abuse is still a major concern and, each year, the month of April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together and learning to...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin