FLORENCE – There have been a number of media reports of a single case of West Nile virus infecting a resident of Lauderdale County. However, the complete story is that the disease struck the resident, a man over 50 years old, several weeks ago. According to Dr. Karen Landers, he has completely recovered and no hospitalization was required. “People should know that even though West Nile is actually a relatively mild disease in most people, it can be extremely serious in some,” she told The Quad-Cities Daily. “Even though it has been dry most of this summer, the heavy rains have made for periods of heavy mosquito populations. It is really important, for people to take appropriate mosquito-control measures around their property.” Dr. Landers emphasized, “Mosquito control, and protective measures such as warm clothing outside such as long sleeves and repellent is the best defense against West Nile.”
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health web site, approximately 1 in 5 people who are infected with West Nile Virus will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Less than 1 percent will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).
According to the USGS Web site, the cumulative total of Alabama cases has reached 31. There are no reported cases in any other counties in our immediate area, however 1 case has been reported in each county of Madison and Winston.
The Alabama Department of Public Health has not reported any Alabama deaths due to West Nile.