Home / Health / A Seattle woman gets West Nile virus and marks the first local infection

A Seattle woman gets West Nile virus and marks the first local infection

A Seattle woman in her 40s is the first person known to be locally infected with West Nile virus. In the past, cases reported in King County residents were probably contracted out of state or in eastern Washington.

A Seattle woman tested positive for West Nile virus, becoming the first person reported to be infected with the virus locally, according to King County. He is expected to recover completely.

The woman, who is in her 40s, probably got infected at the end of August in Seattle, but could have been infected on a day trip to Bainbridge Island, Meredith Li-Vollmer, spokeswoman for Seattle and King County, said on Monday by telephone. Public Health. .

King County residents have reported a relatively rare West Nile virus capture in the past, but they were probably infected outside the state or in eastern Washington, Li-Vollmer said. Over the past decade, approximately six people contracted the virus each year in the eastern part of the state, he added.

"It's not unexpected that we have a case," Li-Vollmer said. "It took longer than we thought it would be to get here from eastern Washington."

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West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. UU In a small number of cases, the virus can spread in laboratory settings, blood transfusions or organs and from a mother to her child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding. Humans are considered a "no-exit" host, which means they can not transmit the virus to other biting mosquitoes.

The Seattle woman was hospitalized for a day in mid-September with a mild form of meningitis due to West Nile virus, according to Dr. Jeff Duchin, a public health official in Seattle and King counties.

According to the CDC, about 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. Of the 20 percent of infected people who develop symptoms, including fever, the most common is fatigue and weakness that can last for weeks or months. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop diseases that affect the central nervous system and can cause death.

Last summer West Nile virus was detected west of the Cascades when a mosquito sample in Pierce County tested positive. According to Duchin, it is likely that people have been locally infected with West Nile virus in the past, since most cases are not recognized.

The spread and extent of the virus, which was first detected in the US UU In 1999, it depends on how the climate, wildlife and mosquito populations interact, Duchin said. Mosquito populations need at least a teaspoon of water to breed in the spring and hot, dry summers for a large number of eggs to hatch and survive.

"I'm sure we'll have more cases in King County over time, "Duchin said." If the earth's temperatures and local temperatures are warming, and our summers are getting warmer and drier, that may be predisposing us. at a risk. "

To reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus, the public health department recommends managing mosquito breeding by removing outdoor objects that can accumulate water, such as buckets, wheelbarrows, or toys. Mosquito bites can be handled with insect repellent, long sleeves and pants and socks, as well as window screens.

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