Health Dept. issues alert in border districts
- Following the death of a six-year-old boy from Malappuram in Kerala, who was undergoing treatment for West Nile fever (WNF), the Health Department of Karnataka on Wednesday stepped up surveillance of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in the State. It has also issued an alert in the border districts of Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, and Dakshina Kannada.
- West Nile virus is spread by culex mosquitoes and the infection is confirmed only if the second sample tests positive. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and occasionally skin rash on the trunk of the body, and swollen lymph glands.
- Severe infection can lead to West Nile encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues) with symptoms of headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis, leading the patient into coma. These symptoms are similar to AES. Incubation period of West Nile fever is three to 14 days.
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), West Nile virus (WNV) infection is transmitted to human beings through bites from infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Birds are the natural hosts of the virus, and vaccine is not available for the infection.