By Colleen Ferreira (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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11:01 PM EDT, August 16, 2012
Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been found in St. Joseph County. Health department officials found the infected mosquitoes on the east side of South Bend, though they did not specify exact location.
So, does this mean we're all going to get the disease?
In the last two days, two people (one each in Michigan and Indiana) have died from West Nile. No one in St. Joseph County has been affected so far this year, but we're entering the worst season for it … Fall.
Should we be living in fear?
“I think people feel a sense of helplessness because it’s a simple mosquito bite," said Dr. Jesse Hsieh with the South Bend Clinic.
People may think they know the ins-and-outs of getting West Nile, but do they?
"The truth is people over 50 are more at risk for getting West Nile,” Hsieh said. But why? “Relatively few children have been reported with it, it's a statistical thing," he said.
When it comes to West Nile, mosquitoes are definitely our enemies.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of people who contract West Nile virus see zero symptoms. That means 4 out of 5 people don't even know they've been bitten by an infected bug.
The other 20 percent get a mild sickness: Headaches, fever, swollen lymph nodes and body aches that last a few days. Only 1 in 150 people with the West Nile virus actually develop a serious illness and Hsieh said you'll know when that hits … it’s called encephalitis.
"You have high fever neck stiffness, headaches, disorientation, seizures, paralysis, these are symptoms you’re not going to ignore," he said.
Tips to prevent mosquitoes from coming your way:
For more information about West Nile Virus, call the St. Joseph County Health Department at 574-235-9573.
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