Human West Nile Virus Infection Diagnosed, Treated At Cullman Regional

by | Sep 20, 2017 | City News, County News, Cullman, Cullman City, EMS, Get Smart, Public Safety

A patient recently presented symptoms of a severe headache and fever at Cullman Regional.

Following laboratory screening, the patient did test positive for the West Nile Virus.

The afflicted patient was treated and released from the hospital, according to a statement provided by Lindsey Dossey, the Marketing & PR Director at Cullman.

This is not the first time West Nile Virus has made an appearance in Cullman County.

Back in August 2012, the Cullman County Extension Office reported one confirmed case of equestrian West Nile Virus. The infected horse resided in the Fairview area tended to by a local veterinarian.

As we reported earlier this month, West Nile Virus has been popping up in diagnosed form across the state of Alabama. One case was diagnosed in nearby Kimberly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. Cases of West Nile virus (WNV) occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall.

West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes after they feed on birds infected with the virus. The same mosquitoes can then infect mammals, particularly humans and horses.

Roughly one in five people who are infected with West Nile Virus will develop symptoms the following systems:

• Fever
• Headache
• Body aches
• Joint pains
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Rash

Less than 1 percent of patients develop a frank neurologic illness like as encephalitis or meningitis. Because the symptoms are more severe, these cases are more likely to be tested and reported.

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV.

The Alabama Department of Public Health notes that one person in Alabama has died from WNV so far in 2016 (no location provided).

According to the Medical director for Jefferson County Health DepartmentEdward Khan, a total of nine cases statewide have been reported and investigated by the Alabama Department of Public Health through August 25th.

Khan state fourteen people have been infected this year with West Nile Virus. During the initial press conference on the subject, he made it a point to say:

“There is no need for widespread panic.”

Residents are asked to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

Early diagnosis and rapid palliative medical treatment can reduce the risk of developing severe cases of WNV disease. The elderly and constitutionally infirm, as you would expect, are at greater risk for serious illness.

According to the CDCP, avoidance of mosquito bites is the best ‘cure’ for WNV. This precaution can be aided by:

• Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535
• Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air conditioning, if available.
• Wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites. Wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.
• Empty standing water from items outside homes, such as flowerpots, buckets and children’s pools.

Cullman Regional

image by Vegan Carpenter

Human West Nile Virus Infection Diagnosed, Treated At Cullman Regional

Timothy Collins

Originally from Asheville, NC, Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com and/or (256) 615-8260.