West Nile Virus: CDC reports increased incidence in 2012
The West Nile Virus outbreaks are on the rise and potentially could cause serious illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there have been more incidences of the West Nile Virus reported this year compared to data since 2004. The peak incidence for West Nile infections in the U.S. occurs from August to September, thus the chance that we continue to see an escalation of the number of cases in the United States is likely. Based on previous reports the most prevalent areas of the country for these outbreaks to occur include Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma , and Mississippi. Demographic areas with a high incidence of the virus are looking into aerial sprays to contain the number of mosquitos carrying the virus, thus directly affecting the number of new cases. The easiest and best way to avoid the West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellents, wearing proper clothing that covers exposed skin, and avoiding areas with a high density of mosquito population.
CDC: United States West Nile Virus activity in 2012 by state
iTriage’s clinical data analytics has a seen a direct correlation to the reports by the CDC of seasonal outbreaks to the number of individuals searching for more information on the condition to make more informed healthcare decisions. iTriage consumers have searched on average the West Nile Virus 118% more during the months of July, August, and September based on data from 2010 and 2011 when compared to the average search throughout the year. We are currently seeing an upward trend in searches for West Nile Virus in 2012 within our clinical data analytics as we enter into the peak incidence.
The West Nile Virus is an infection that individuals contract after being bitten by infected mosquitos. Mosquitos acquire the infection after biting wild birds where the virus lives. More than 30,000 people have acquired the infection according to the CDC since the first report in 1999. Common symptoms of a West Virus infection include fever, headache, back pain, muscle aches, lack of appetite, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Physicians use blood tests to determine if the West Nile Virus is causing the infection. If the doctor thinks the virus has infected the brain or spinal cord a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) may be used to further investigate the infection.
It is important for individuals to become familiar with the condition, how to avoid it and how to seek proper access to care if needed. If you are concerned you may have come down with the disease, the most appropriate providers that may treat the condition are your family practice physician, internists and /or an infectious disease specialist. If you are experiencing serious symptoms do not delay treatment and seek emergency care immediately