The mosquito-borne disease known as West Nile Virus (WNV) has become a major public health concern over the past several decades, to the point that it is now classified as an epidemic. Indeed, the current American outbreak is poised to be the nation’s deadliest yet. It is easy to see why this virus is such a concern when you trace its history and epidemiology:
Where Did It Come From?
West Nile Virus was first isolated by a 1937 medical study of African yellow fever patients in the West Nile District of Uganda. The concerned researcher recommended that scientists keep an eye out for the spread of this mysterious and potentially deadly illness. Her suspicions were correct: just two years later, a follow-up study indicated that millions of Africans carried antibodies for WNV. This indicated that WNV was a well-established and transmittable disease, and over the next several decades the disease slowly spread around the Middle East and on into Asia and Australia. Travelers and imported horses are believed to have brought WNV to Europe in the 1960s. The United States saw its first outbreak in the New York City borough of Queens in 1999.
How Do People Get It?
WNV is generally spread through bites by female mosquitoes of various species. The mosquitoes themselves obtain the infection by biting infected birds. When the infected mosquitoes bite humans, the proboscis penetrates the skin and injects the bloodstream with saliva, an anesthetic, and the virus. Infected humans can also spread the virus to others through direct blood contact, breastfeeding, blood transfusions, organ transplants, and intrauterine exposure. However, infected humans cannot transmit the virus to uninfected mosquitoes.
There is no cure for West Nile Virus, but residents of Coral Gables, Weston, and other areas of South Florida can protect themselves from infectious mosquitoes by investing in a mosquito misting system. Platinum Mosquito Protection offers top-quality misters for optimum mosquito control. Call us at (954) 888-9311 if you have any questions.