Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 19, 2013

West Nile found in Goshen


— Elkhart County has a confirmed presence of the West Nile Virus and it's in Goshen.

Staff of the Environmental Health Services Division of the Elkhart County Health Department found the virus in a mosquito pool collected in Goshen Aug. 1.

"This has been expected since all of our surrounding counties have had mosquitoes that tested positive for WNV," health officials said. "This is the time of year when the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases to humans is more likely and individuals should wear repellant and/or long sleeves and long pants if out at dawn or dusk."

To better control the mosquito population, people should empty outdoor containers that have collected water -- a potential mosquito breeding site. These could include flower pots, kiddy pools or blocked rain gutters.

Though most people have no symptoms of WNV, aobut 20 percent of those with the virus develop a mild infection known as West Nile fever. The symptoms include: fever, headache, body aches, fatigue and occasionally skin rash, swollen lymph gland and eye pain.

Less than 1 percent of infected people have a more serious neurological infection. This infection may cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or of the brain and surround membranes (miningeoncephalitis). Serious infection may also include infection and inflammation of the spinal cord and acute flaccid paralysis -- a sudden weakness in the arms, legs or breathing muscles.

Signs and symptoms include: high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, diorientation or confusion, stupor or coma, tremors or muscle jerking, lack of coordination, convulsions, pain and/or partial paralysis or sudden weakness.

Signs and symptoms of WNV fever usually last for a few days, but signs and symptoms of encephalitis or meningitis can linger for weeks. Certain neurological effects, including muscle weakness, may be permanent.

Mild symptoms of West Nile fever usually resolve on their own. Those who experience signs or symptoms of a serious infection, including severe headaches, a stiff neck or an altered mental state, should seek medial attention right away.

A serious WNV infection general requires hospitalization.