Monday, August 27, 2012 / 1:13 PM
Today Missouri health officials announced the first official death from West Nile virus in Missouri this year. Thus far in 2012, more than 1,100 cases nationwide of West Nile virus have been reported to the CDC, making this year's outbreak the largest since it was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.
The majority of cases occur during August and September, and with a record number of reported cases already, it's important to know how to recognize West Nile virus and, most importantly, how to prevent it.
West Nile virus is most commonly caused by mosquitoes that pick up the disease from birds. Even though most cases of West Nile lead to mild illness, some cases can turn serious and cause permanent neurological damage.
The CDC says that the easiest way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites using the following techniques:
Although about 80 percent of people don't show any symptoms of the virus, up to 20 percent might experience fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.
There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus, but usually mild symptoms will go away on their own. People over the age of 50 are at higher risk to develop serious symptoms, which often require hospitalization.
For more information, click HERE.
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