According to recent reports, West Nile Virus is an infection which spread throughout the American continent over the past twenty years.
A group of researcher from the Baylor College of Medicine has conducted a study during which they investigated the mysterious death of several patients who had been infected with the West Nile virus.
The Mysterious Deaths
The problem is that although the patients recovered from the infection, they died shortly after due to other causes which were not related to the mosquito-borne disease.
According to Dr. Kristy Murray, lead author of the study, the team monitored for a few years small groups of patients and observed that some of them suffered a premature death.
Dr. Murray explained that all patients were perfectly healthy until they contracted the virus. After that, they became very sick. Another recent study has pointed to the fact that the West Nile Virus might not be the reason why some patients experience violent symptoms.
In fact, this infection triggers an overreaction of the immune system. The first West Nile case in the U.S. was recorded in 1999. Since then, it spread across the country, Mexico, and Canada as well.
West Nile Virus Statistics
Based on the statistics, more than 40,000 people have contracted this virus over the past 26 years and over 1,600 of them died. Public health experts underline that the WNV is hard to eradicate because the mosquitoes contract the virus from infected birds and other animals.
Dr. Murray’s team monitored 4,144 patients in Texas between 2002 and 2012 out of which 554 of them died due to complications or other health issues unrelated to the infection. Also, about 7 percent of the patients died within 90 days.
Moreover, other 210 patients who experienced violent symptoms died shortly after they had recovered, especially due to kidney failure and other infections. Based on the CDC statistics, 1,521 WNV cases have been reported this year.
Common symptoms include muscle aches, headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, high fever, and even tremors, disorientation, neck stiffness, coma, and paralysis in the case of patients who develop a neuroinvasive disease similar to meningitis.
However, less than one percent of the patients develop this neurologic illness. People who are most at risk to develop acute West Nile Virus symptoms are pregnant women, children, those with weak immune systems, and seniors.
Image Source: NBC New York