New Mexico is currently facing the novel coronavirus pandemic with almost 6,000 confirmed cases. But, according to the official notification from the state health department, the country is facing the first human case of the West Nile virus. The confirmed case is a 50-year-old man from San Juan County. The person was first diagnosed with neuroinvasive disease. However, after hospitalization, further tests confirmed the infection of the West Nile virus. This infection is spread by a type of mosquito in New Mexico.
The disease, however, is not as deadly as COVID-19. Very few people infected with the virus develop a fever. While even fewer people experience body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, or a rash, or other side effects. The chance that this disease will become deadly is also very rare. Almost 1 out of every 160 cases, infected with West Nile virus develop a serious illness which leads to inflammation of the spinal cord or brain.
Mosquito bite: West Nile virus
The report shows that older people with already existing medical conditions, are more susceptible to the virus. For the last 21 years, since its entry in the US, there is no vaccine for the virus. But this does not mean you cannot stay safe from the virus. Because there are many preventive steps to stay away from mosquito bites. The following advice from the Department of Health will help you stay safe.
- Try to use a well-known insect repellent whenever you go out. Also read through the instructions given behind carefully.
- Always ensure if the rain barrels are tightly screened or not.
- Try to wear long sleeves with full pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
- Regularly drain standing water and scrub containers, including empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters, saucers under potted plants, birdbaths, wading pools, and pets’ water bowls. Mosquitoes that spread the West Nile virus breed in stagnant water.
In 2019, New Mexico recorded almost 40 cases of the West Nile virus. Let us know what you think about this deadly disease in the comments section below and we are proud to announce Sciencenews18 is now available on telegram, Do join it quickly!
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.