On Monday, Russia warned of a likely spike in West Nile Virus (WNV) infections this autumn, citing mild temperatures and copious rainfall as favorable circumstances for mosquitos that spread the virus.
“In light of favorable climatic conditions this year – an abundance of precipitation… a warm and long autumn, a high number of (virus) carriers could be observed in the autumn,” Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer health watchdog, said.
More than 80% of Russia’s West Nile fever cases are in its southwest region.
What is West Nile Virus?
Infected mosquitoes spread WNV, which is an infectious disease. With the bite of an infected Culex mosquito, it transmits from birds to humans. In humans, it can cause a deadly neurological condition.
According to the World Health Organization, the virus causes West Nile fever in about 20% of cases. It’s a virus that’s connected to Zika, Dengue, and Yellow Fever.
What are the symptoms of West Nile Virus?
When people contract WNV, they usually have minimal or minor symptoms. Fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands are among the symptoms. They can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks and are usually self-resolving.
Where did the West Nile Virus originate?
WNV was initially discovered in a lady in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937, according to WHO. In 1953, it was discovered in birds (crows and Columbiformes) in the Nile delta region.
WNV was not harmful to birds before 1997, although a more virulent strain caused the deaths of several bird species in Israel at the time, with symptoms of encephalitis and paralysis. Several countries have had WNV-related human infections for more than 50 years, according to the WHO.
When does it become dangerous?
If the West Nile virus gets into the brain, it can be fatal. It can induce encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord).
What is the diagnosis of the WNV?
Doctors can diagnose it using a physical exam, medical history, and laboratory studies.
Who is in danger?
The most vulnerable are the elderly, children, and also individuals with compromised immune systems.
What is the cure?
Human WNV illness has no specific vaccinations or therapies. The easiest strategy to avoid contracting WNV is to avoid mosquitos’ bites. Patients with neuro-invasive West Nile virus get supportive care. It generally includes hospitalization, intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and also the prevention of subsequent infections.
Climate change-related warmer temperatures, according to scientists, may also cause infection to spread more widely.