Moscow. In the midst of the Corona virus epidemic, now the threat of a new epidemic has arisen. Russia has warned of a possible increase in West Nile virus (WNV) infections this autumn, as mild temperatures and heavy rainfall will create favorable conditions for the mosquitoes that transmit it.
West Nile virus is a virus originally from Africa. Now it has spread to Asia, Europe and North America. This WNV is mainly transmitted through mosquito bites. This can lead to fatal neurological diseases in humans.
More than 80% of West Nile fever cases have been reported in the southwest region of Russia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no vaccine available against this virus for humans, although there is a vaccine against this virus for horses.
What is this West Nile virus?
This West Nile virus is a contagious disease that is spread by infectious mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted to birds and then to humans by the bite of an infected Culex mosquito, and can also cause fatal neurological diseases in humans. According to the World Health Organization, this virus causes West Nile fever in about 20% of cases. This virus is related to the dengue, zika and yellow fever viruses.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus
People infected with West Nile virus usually have no or mild symptoms. Symptoms of this disease include headache, fever, skin rash, body aches and swollen lymph glands. Symptoms of this virus can last from a few days to several weeks and usually, these symptoms go away on their own.
From where did it originate?
According to the WHO, the virus was first identified in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in the year 1937. WNV was identified in the year 1953 in birds (crows and Columbiformes/ pigeons) in the Nile Delta region.
When can West Nile virus become dangerous?
West Nile virus can be very dangerous and deadly if it enters the brain. This disease can also cause inflammation of the brain, which is called encephalitis. Or, as an inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the spinal cord and brain is called meningitis.
Who are at risk of this virus?
Children, older people and people with weakened immune systems are more prone to this disease.
What is the treatment for West Nile virus?
So far, there are no specific treatments or vaccines for this West Nile disease for humans. Avoiding the bites of these mosquitoes is the best way to avoid this virus infection. Treatment of the disease is supportive for patients with neuro-invasive West Nile virus which often includes intravenous fluids, hospitalization, prevention of secondary infections, and respiratory support.