It's prime time for West Nile, doctors say

"We are right now at around the peak period of West Nile Virus and this will go continue into September."

Fred Bodimer
August 20, 2019 - 4:47 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — The U.S. is on alert for the West Nile virus.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there have been 128 human cases of West Nile so far this year in 36 states — including Missouri and Illinois.

West Nile is the most common virus that's transmitted by mosquitoes.

"We are right now at around the peak period of West Nile Virus and this will go continue into September," said Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.  "West Nile is the greatest threat to the United States in terms of mosquito-transmitted viruses."

"West Nile is a virus so that means it is not a bacteria," said SSM Health family medicine physician Dr. Jennifer Wessels. "Antibiotics are not something that's going to help clear this from your system. "

Dr. Wessels tells KMOX West Nile is pretty rare. 

"Very few people will get West Nile and if you do, you are very likely to not even notice or have symptoms," said Dr. Wessels. "Symptoms include fever or muscle aches or fatigue. And if you are having these symptoms, you'd want to get to your doctor to get evaluated and checked out."

Other symptoms include headache, vomiting and rash.  

Tips for preventing mosquito bites?

"Good things to remember when you are outside include using any type of insect repellent or a topical skin ingredient can help," said Dr. Wessels.  "Sometimes wearing long sleeves and long pants can also help deter bugs.  You also want to make sure that you are staying away from areas with high grass or a lot of unkempt plants as well because that can easily impact the number of mosquitoes and insects in the area."

St. Charles County health officials reported during routine trapping last week, a sample from adult mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile -- the first positive result they have had this year.  But they say this isn't cause for alarm -- but should serve as a reminder to remain vigilant in protecting against mosquito bites -- and to make sure to eliminate all sources of standing water from around your home that could serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

For more info on West Nile Virus, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or visit sccmo.org/WestNileVirus

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