Human cases of West Nile virus reported in St. Louis County


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Two St. Louis County residents recently tested positive for West Nile virus, the county health department said Tuesday.

Both individuals were recently released from local hospitals after being treated for West Nile symptoms.

Since 2011, the county has only recorded 11 confirmed human cases of WNV.

The virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito that had been feeding on an infected bird.

You can reduce your risk of exposure by staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active, eliminating sources of standing water (clogged gutters, pool covers, potted plants, birdbaths, and tire swings), and keeping doors and windows shut in the evening.

Health officials say using insect repellents that contain 20% – 50% DEET or Picaridin, wearing light-colored clothes, and covering exposed skin can also protect from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. You can also treat birdbaths, ponds, and other water sources that cannot be drained with products containing Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti).

The most serious cases of West Nile can be deadly.

The elderly are more at risk of getting sick because their immune system is often weaker.

The CDC says that most people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, is possible.

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