What you need to know about West Nile virus (WNV) fever:
What is West Nile virus?
West Nile virus is a trapped RNA virus and a member of the Flaviviridae family. The Kerala Health Department said that West Nile fever is spread by the Cauliflower type mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization, it can cause fatal neurological disease in humans, but most affected people show no symptoms. It is spread mainly by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the Americas. The WHO says birds are the natural host of the WNV, while the virus persists in a cycle of migration between birds and mosquitoes. Humans, horses and other mammals can be affected.
Although the most common cause of infection in humans is the bite of an infected mosquito, these vectors are more likely to carry the disease if they feed on infected birds. The WHO says the WNV can also be spread through contact with other infected animals, their blood or other tissues.
Organ transplants, blood transfusions and breastfeeding are more likely to be transmitted to humans. The WHO says a case of transplantal (mother-to-child) WNV transmission has been reported. But human-to-human transmission through direct contact has not yet been documented. There is no documented report from health workers treating infected patients when they follow standard protocol for infectious diseases. However, there are reports of WNV transmission in lab workers.
What are the symptoms?
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According to reports, the man developed fever and other symptoms in Kerala on May 17 and after undergoing treatment at various hospitals, he was admitted to the Government Medical College, Thrissur, where he was diagnosed with West Nile fever.
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About 80% of people who are infected show no symptoms and those with WNV do not feel sick. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and body aches, nausea, vomiting, occasional itchy skin (on the trunk) and swollen lymph nodes, according to the WHO.
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