by Joshua Mendez
During the summer of 2018, North Attleboro residents were in for a surprise when hearing the alarming news of West Nile Virus being detected in mosquitoes. As mosquitoes bite and suck the blood of an infected animal, they become infected as well and spread the virus to their next meal.
West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat West Nile Virus in people. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.” Most people infected with West Nile virus either don’t develop signs or symptoms or have only minor ones, such as fever and mild headache. However, some people develop a life-threatening illness that includes inflammation of the spinal cord or brain.
On the bright side, only a small percentage of people become severely ill when contracting West Nile Virus. The Mayo Clinic states, “Even if you’re infected, your risk of developing a serious West Nile virus-related illness is extremely small — less than 1 percent of people who are infected become severely ill. And most people who do become sick recover fully. You’re more likely to develop a severe or fatal infection based on:Age.”
This news appalled the residents of North Attleboro, which compelled them to take precaution. A North Attleboro resident, Kayla Lowe states, “ This is kind of alarming to me now knowing that the effects of the West Nile Virus can be fatal, but not too alarming to the point where I’m going to take precaution towards it since it only affects a small percentage of people who contract it. I also feel better now that I’m enlightened of the symptoms of the West Nile Virus, so hypothetically speaking if i was amongst the small percentage of people that are actually affected by it, I would be aware and take early action.”
One can reduce the risk of contracting West Nile Virus by using mosquito repellent and wearing clothing that covers your skin.
Now that fall is here and winter is approaching, the mosquito population has dwindled due to the cold climate, which means that people will be less prone to contracting the West Nile Virus… until next summer.