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Pest Borne Diseases: West Nile Fever


We have all been probably cursed with having to deal with pests at some point in our lifetime.  Whether it is in our homes, in our gardens, or on the farm, they can seem to give more problems than we could handle. There are nuisance pests; pests that are harmless yet annoying like moths, wasps, and weevils. Then there are whiteflies and stink bugs who destroy our garden plants but are harmless to humans. And of course, there are pests that pass on diseases.

These pests include rodents, cockroaches, fleas, and the most notorious of them all, the mosquitoes. Among all these pest-borne diseases, the mosquitoes have had the greatest number of transmission. They are known to transmit dengue, malaria, elephantiasis, yellow fever. And the West Nile virus. The West Nile fever is the most common disease transmitted by the mosquitoes here in the United States.

West Nile Fever Overview

The West Nile virus is transmitted through a mosquito bite, no wonder this disease usually occurs during the mosquito season, which begins in the fall and ends in the summer.  West Nile virus is the virus that causes the West Nile fever. It rarely occurs through blood transfusion, coughing, sneezing, touching, or organ transplant. Human to human transfer, therefore, does not occur.

Signs & Symptoms

Eighty percent of those infected show no symptoms. For the other twenty percent, symptoms usually show after 3 days to two weeks after being bitten. Symptoms include: If a patient has mild symptoms, he will recover quickly. Symptoms could be mild fever, body aches, headaches, diarrhea, vision loss, numbness, body rashes, swollen lymph glands, muscle weakness, and paralysis.

A severe case can even see the patient have meningitis and permanent brain damage, death can occur when the central nervous system gets affected. People over 60 are at higher risk of getting severe symptoms. Same with those with medical conditions like cancer. Headache may or may not occur, so it is not used as an indicator by the health care providers. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have West Nile fever, seek care from a doctor.  The doctor can order tests to verify if you contracted the virus.


Unfortunately, vaccines are not yet available for treatment of the West Nile fever.  To treat for pain, the patient can use painkillers sold over the counter. If the case is severe, the patient must be taken to the hospital for treatment.  IV fluids, pain medication, and nursing may be required. Consult your health care provider for other treatment plans.


Since there is no vaccine for the West Nile virus, the best way to prevent it is to get rid of the mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes like to stay around stagnant water, it is best to remove things that can hold water. Things like old cans, old tires, plastic containers, and any similar objects. Use EPA - approved insect repellents, and wear long sleeves and pants as much as possible.  In the case of the West Nile fever, the old saying “Prevention is better than cure.” is all too true.