The disease West Nile fever transmitted primarily through infected mosquitoes. (Representational image: Pixabay)
The disease West Nile fever transmitted primarily through infected mosquitoes. (Representational image: Pixabay)

West Nile Fever Outbreak in Kerala: Ten Individuals Infected

Cases of West Nile Fever have been reported in the district before.

In a recent surge of cases, Kerala is facing the spread of West Nile fever, prompting health authorities to increase vigilance across the state. The disease, transmitted primarily through infected mosquitoes, has caused both authorities and locals to get concerned.

The outbreak has been particularly notable in three districts: Kozhikode, Malappuram, and Thrissur. Reports indicate that ten individuals have already been infected, with suspicions of two deaths linked to the virus pending official confirmation. While the majority of cases have shown mild symptoms or none at all, the potential severity of the disease underscores the need for proactive measures.

Cases of West Nile Fever have been reported in the district before. It’s similar to dengue. There is no cause for alarm or panic right now. There are no hot spots.
Snehil Kumar Singh, Kozhikode District Collector

West Nile fever, caused by the West Nile virus (WNV), presents symptoms similar to dengue, including fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. However, in around 20% of cases, the infection can lead to more severe conditions such as encephalitis or meningitis, particularly affecting older adults and those with compromised immune systems.

West Nile fever, caused by the West Nile virus (WNV), presents symptoms similar to dengue, including fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. 
(Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
West Nile fever, caused by the West Nile virus (WNV), presents symptoms similar to dengue, including fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)

Health authorities emphasize the importance of preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus. Strategies include intensified mosquito control efforts, such as eliminating stagnant water sources where mosquitoes breed and conducting pre-monsoon cleaning drives to reduce mosquito populations.

Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which circulate the virus in their blood for a few days. The virus eventually gets into the mosquito’s salivary glands. During later blood meals (when mosquitoes bite), the virus may be injected into humans and animals, where it can multiply and possibly cause illness
World Health Organisation (WHO)

While there is no specific treatment or vaccine for West Nile virus infection, supportive care remains crucial for managing symptoms and preventing complications. Quick medical attention is advised for individuals exhibiting symptoms associated with the disease.

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of the disease. Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months. Some effects on the central nervous system might be permanent
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

West Nile virus infections have been reported in India since 1952 when antibodies were discovered in Mumbai. Periodically since then, outbreaks have been documented in several parts of central, western, and southern India. The state of Kerala has already experienced prior cases of the virus, with recent reports of mortality.

Originating in Uganda in the 1930s, the West Nile virus gained global attention in 1999 when a virulent strain caused a significant outbreak in New York, spreading rapidly across the United States and throughout the Americas.

(Input from various media sources)

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

The disease West Nile fever transmitted primarily through infected mosquitoes. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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