The reaction from a single, normal mosquito bite usually results in a lot of itching for a day or so. The same bite from a mosquito infected with West Nile virus has much more serious symptoms that could go on for about a week, or longer in some cases.
Recently, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Bureau for Public Health reported an increase in West Nile virus among mosquitoes. Specifically, 20.5 of 200 of the insects sampled tested positive for the virus. That's a big increase over last year, when the rate was 1.4 percent.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the conditions of West Nile virus can range from mild to severe. While some people experience no symptoms, the virus can be life threatening for those contract the more serious forms - West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis. Symptoms for the milder form include abdominal pain, fever, headache and nausea. The more serious cases can inflict people with confusion, loss of consciousness and a stiff neck.
Because of this threat, it's important to avoid mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control recommends:
Emptying containers with standing water as this is the breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Making sure window screens are secure.
Using an insect repellent.
Anyone who thinks they are infected should seek medical attention immediately. West Nile is something to take seriously. Prevention always remains the best cure.