West Nile Virus
What is it?
The West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans by the Culex mosquito after it feeds on infected birds. While the vast majority of people who contract the virus don't experience symptoms, it can be deadly in rare cases.
Am I at risk?
Yes, residents living in LA County risk exposure to the West Nile Virus. Most people who contract the virus, however, don't experience any symptoms. People at most risk of serious illness are the elderly and those with certain medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and kidney disease.
The Culex mosquito is especially active from dusk to dawn so be sure to cover up and wear bug spray after the sun goes down.
What are the common symptoms?
For the small percentage of people who do become sick after contracting West Nile Virus, symptoms can include fever, headache, rash, muscle weakness, and nausea and vomiting. Of those who do show symptoms, a small minority develop potentially deadly neurological symptoms such as limb paralysis, tremors, altered mental status, and encephalitis (a deadly swelling in the brain).
I'm worried I may have West Nile Virus. What should I do?
Consult your primary care doctor immediately if you think you may be infected. There are no vaccines or treatments for West Nile Virus. Over-the-counter pain medicine can be used to lower fever and relieve other symptoms while you wait to see your doctor.
No doctor? Visit an LA County Comprehensive Health Center near you!