West Nile Virus and ‘Brain-Eating’ Amoeba May Spread During Summer

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Health officials have recently recorded the first appearance of the West Nile virus in San Diego County for this year after a mosquito captured in the Black Mountain Ranch area tested positive for the virus.

According to a report from NBCS San Diego, the mosquito was caught in a routine trapping following other mosquitos in other Southern California areas that tested positive for the West Nile virus and St. Louis Encephalitis earlier this week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although the West Nile virus is commonly found in birds, it can also be transmitted to humans by mosquito bites.

Officials said the Clux mosquito, which is indigenous to San Diego, and three types of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes also found in San Diego County, can transfer the infection from biting an infected bird and later biting people.

Aedes mosquitoes have been in San Diego since 2014. Their bite during the day and transmit chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses. These mosquitos are relatively small and with black and white stripes on their legs and backs.

About 20% of people who are infected by the West Nile virus experience symptoms, including fever, headache, nausea, fatigue, skin rash, or swollen glands. However, rare cases of about one among 150 infected people can die of the illness, according to the CDC.

There is still no vaccine to prevent the West Nile virus, or medications to treat the disease, which mostly occurs during mosquito season starting in the summer until fall.

As summer approaches, health officials are advising people to protect themselves from mosquitoes by removing stagnant water in and around their homes where mosquitoes like to breed. This includes water in plant vases and saucers, rain gutters, trash cans, buckets, old tires, wheelbarrows, pools, and even toys.

Since people are spending more time at home due to coronavirus restrictions, officials said residents may be more susceptible to mosquito bites, so removing any stagnant water is the key to prevention. They are also urged everyone to follow the county’s guidelines of “Prevent, Protect, Report” to prevent the spread of the virus.

People can report mosquito activity as well as stagnant water, green pools, or dead birds to the Vector Control Program at (858) 694-2888 or through email at [email protected] They should also follow the county’s guidelines of “Prevent, Protect, Report” when it comes to the virus.

Meanwhile, the KWTX has reported about the warning issued by the Brazos River Authority on Friday, June 5. It was about “a rare but usually fatal illness” caused by a water-borne amoeba called Naegleria fowleri that lives in lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds in Texas.

The amoeba can be found in almost all untreated, fresh surface water that’s warmer than 80 degrees, as well as in soil. It causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said that most infections happen during hot weather and wen water levels are low. The amoeba enters the body through the nose after diving or jumping into freshwater. It then travels up into the brain along the olfactory nerve and destroys brain tissue.

While the infection cannot be spread from person to person or by drinking contaminated water, infected individuals usually start showing symptoms about five days after contracting the infection.

Early symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting, so it can be mistaken for the flu or bacterial meningitis. However, the infection quickly progresses to loss of balance, seizures, a stiff neck, and hallucinations, and usually leads to death after about two weeks.

This is why health officials advise people to take extra care and precautionary measures. The last thing that the government wants is to have another virus killing people while COVID-19 is still crippling economies and societies worldwide.

Read also: CDC Survey Finds 40% of Americans Are Using Bleach to Clean Food and for Gargling; Severe Tissue Damage Might Occur

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