The epidemic caused in the United States by the 'Nile virus', a life-threatening disease that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, already extends to 48 states of the nation, with more than one thousand five hundred cases diagnosed and 66 people deceased, making the outbreak the worst recorded since the virus It was introduced in the country in 1999. It is also estimated that the number of affected could be much higher than that registered by the health authorities, since some infected persons remain asymptomatic and, in others, the symptoms are very mild and are limited to headache and fever.
As explained by Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, of the Center for Disease Detection and Prevention (CDC), the epidemic, which is spreading rapidly, is considered especially serious because in more than 50% of cases that have been detected this year the 'Virus of the Nile' has affected the brain of the sick. In addition, the health authorities believe that the number of cases will increase before the end of the summer.
The neuro-invasive form of 'Nile virus' affects the brain, causes encephalitis or meningitis, and can cause the death of the patient
According to laboratory experiments, high temperatures favor the spread of this virus, which is why specialists associate the severity of the outbreak with the particularly hot summer that we are suffering. However, scientists are also investigating the possibility that the virus has mutated into a more dangerous form.
The symptoms of 'Nile virus' are manifested, suddenly, between three days and two weeks after the bite of the mosquito responsible for the transmission of the infection. The patient usually has a fever and has to stay in bed for a few days. Afterwards, he is very fatigued for weeks or months. However, the worst is when the patient suffers the 'neuro-invasive' type of the disease and the virus infects the brain causing encephalitis or meningitis.
The involvement of the brain is undoubtedly the worst complication of the 'Nile virus' and the one that causes more deaths, although specialists also warn of another important risk, and that is that in some people the virus remains in the kidneys for years, causing problems kidney
At present there are no effective means to combat the disease, so you can only take precautions to avoid contagion such as using insect repellent substances and clothing that cover most of the body, in addition to placing mosquito nets on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering the interior of homes.