What is West Nile fever? Symptoms and treatment

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The Department of Health of the Generalitat has confirmed that a 76-year-old woman from El Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona) is the first case treated as West Nile virus (VNO) in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Although the case is declared probable due to the difficulty of diagnosis. This virus is transmitted essentially by infected mosquito bite and 80% of infected people do not present any symptoms.

It is a viral disease that is transmitted by mosquito bites. It was first identified in Uganda in 1937., although in recent years it has spread to different countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and Western Asia. In Europe it is considered an emerging disease.

He West Nile virus It belongs to the flavivirus genus. According to Natalia Rodríguez, doctor at the International Health service at the Hospital Clínic and researcher at ISGlobal, a center promoted by the “la Caixa” Foundation, infection in humans is caused by the bite of a mosquito that has previously been infected with the virus by biting a contaminated bird (virus reservoir). Till the date No cases of human-to-human transmission have been confirmed..

“In approximately 80% of those affected, the infection is asymptomatic,” says Rodríguez. The remaining 20% ​​usually present a flu-like illnesswith fever, headaches, tiredness, body aches, nausea, vomiting and, sometimes skin rash. In less than 1% there is a neurological involvementsuch as the paralysis of a nerve or the appearance of meningoencephalitis, the inflammation of the layers that cover the brain.

There is no treatment specific or vaccine. Those affected by severe forms of the disease are provided with support measures and prevention of secondary infections.

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