Blessings for Life was founded in 2000,
after the birth of our 4th child. In 2001, we began another amazing
journey at Better
Budgeting, helping families around the world, of all faiths, save money and live a better life.
In 2006, my mother was set
to take over as editor for Blessings for Life to help with my crazy
schedule. God had other plans. Within
just a few short months she got a promotion.
No more tears, no more
We could not have done this without her help and endless
encouragement. And, we must carry on.
Never Give Up...
God Always Has a Plan!
The West Nile virus (WNV) was first documented
in Uganda in 1937. The first case in the United States was reported in New
York City in 1999. Additional human cases are identified and deaths are
reported daily. Here's what you need to know.
WHO CONTRACTS WNV?
WNV affects all races and men and women equally. The elderly, chronically ill,
or immunosuppressed are more likely to become seriously ill or die from WNV.
HOW IS WNV TRANSMITTED?
-- WNV is carried from animal to animal by mosquito bites. Birds (especially
crows) are the most common victims, but WNV has infected horses and smaller
animals as well.
-- Birds, horses, humans, and other animals do
not transmit the disease. Mosquitoes do. Therefore, you will not get WNV if
you handle animals who are infected.
-- The more mosquito bites you have, the more
likely you are to become infected. This does *not* mean that you should run to
the doctor or your emergency room when a mosquito bites you. The likelihood
that you have become infected is extremely small.
HOW DO DOCTORS DIAGNOSE WNV?
-- The signs and symptoms of WNV are fever, headache, loss of appetite, nausea
and vomiting, muscle pain, eye pain, rash, and enlarged lymph glands.
According to a recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the
incubaton period of WNV is from three to 14 days.
-- WNV is dangerous when it develops into viral
encephalitis or viral meningitis. Symptoms of viral encephalitis include
confusion and a gradual loss of consciousness. Symptoms of viral meningitis
include a stiff neck and neurological signs your doctor will recognize.
-- Doctors diagnose WNV through a history and
physical examination. They also order a blood test to detect the antibody to
the WNV and or to find the virus itself in the blood. A case is considered to
be "probable West Nile virus" when the WNV antibody is identified
and "confirmed West Nile virus" when the virus itself is identified
in the blood.
HOW DO DOCTORS TREAT WNV?
Treatment for WNV is entirely supportive because there is no medication that
specifically fights the disease. As with any infection, be sure to drink
plenty of fluids, get adequate rest, and take fever reducers, such as
acetaminophen or aspirin, if you have symptoms of WNV. If you have the
symptoms and have been bitten by a mosquito recently, contact your physician.
People who have viral encephalitis or viral meningitis often require intensive
care, medications to treat seizures, a breathing machine, and replacement of
fluids and electrolytes.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT WNV?
-- Drain any collections of stagnant water found in your yard, neighborhood,
or work place.
-- Use mosquito repellants containing "DEET,"
carefully following package directions.
* Use a repellant that is no more than 10% DEET for children.
* Treat clothing, skin, bedding, tents and tent screens as well as people.
* Avoid getting mosquito repellant on the hands to prevent getting DEET into
the mouth, eyes, ears.
-- Wear long sleeves and long pants when
-- Avoid wearing bright colors or using
perfumes outdoors. Both may attract mosquitoes.
-- Stay indoors from dusk to dawn, when
mosquitoes are more active.
-- Report dead birds or other animals to state
and local health
-- Cooperate with local health department and
governmental efforts to rid the community of mosquitoes. They use two types of
chemicals: Natural compounds that kill the larvae and methoprine to kill
adults. Methoprine can cause eye irritations or skin rash, though the
incidence is rare.
HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WNV?
Go to the following resources to find out more about WNV. The CDC site has the
very latest information, including an up-to-date map showing the most current
Centers for Disease Control (2002). Prevention: Avoid mosquito bites to avoid
infection. Retrieved August 12, 2002.
Cunha, B.A. (2002). West Nile encephalitis. Retrieved September
15, 2002. http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic3160.htm
free registration to access).
Petersen, L.R., & Marfin, A.A. (2002). West Nile virus: A primer
for the clinician. Annals of Internal Medicine(137), 173-179.
2002 by Becky Sisk, PhD.