Mosquitoes bring a new health threat amid the coronavirus pandemic: West Nile fever and Saint Louis encephalitis

The population living in California has a new reason to worry about their health: mosquitoes. The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) reported on Monday that they have tested mosquitoes to be positive on West Nile Fever and Saint Louis encephalitis.

Los Angeles and Palm Desert are three regions in the state of California where mosquitoes were tested positive for West Nile Fever. “This detection should serve as a reminder that WNV is endemic in Los Angeles County,” said Susanne Kluh, director of Scientific-Technical Services at GLACVCD.

Also, mosquitoes have tested positive for Saint Louis encephalitis and La Quinta, California. With summer coming, the populations of mosquitoes will grow, just like they do every summer, and so will the risk of getting infected with one of the two diseases. An, probably, the menace will extend to other US states.

The most endangered category for both diseases is the elders over 60. Just like in the case of coronavirus. None of the illnesses can be treated. For the West Nile fever, pain medications could be helpful, while for the sever cases of Saint Louis encephalitis interferon alfa-2b has proven to be somewhat efficient.

West Nile fever

It is a disease provoked by the West Nile virus. The virus is originated in birds, but the mosquitoes are the ones transmitting it to humans. Although close to 80% of those who get infected manifest few to no symptoms, and 20% manifest mild symptoms, the close to 1% left can experience coma and death.

The mild symptoms are fever, headache, vomiting, or a rash. The acute symptoms are encephalitis, meningitis, neck stiffness, confusion, and seizures. The recovery lasts weeks and even months.

Just like the coronavirus, in severe cases, the infection causes a raise in the cytokine levels that weaken the blood-brain barrier, which causes death in close to 10% of them.

Saint Louis encephalitis

The virus that causes it is the Saint Louis encephalitis virus. It too is originated in birds, and passed onto humans through the mosquito bite, commonly through the genus Culex.

The symptoms of mild infections are fever and headache. In severe cases, patients experience a severity in those symptoms and also neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and spastic paralysis. 3 to 30% of the cases can be fatal.

The virus is not human-to-human transmissible.

There are ways to keep yourselves safe from getting infected

Don’t let water stand in anything that could hold it for more than a week. Standing water is a mosquito’s necessary nesting condition. Even ornamental ponds, swimming pools, and spas can make it if they aren’t properly maintained. Small nests such as water pet dishes and birdbaths suit them just as well. If your neighbor doesn’t maintain his swimming pool, report him!

Culex larvae

Use indoor repellent, install mosquito nets, and don’t leave your house without wearing insect repellent. Especially at night, since this is mosquitoes favorite time to go hunting. Also, when you got to green places, such as parks or the woods. Make you’re your wear-on repellent contains active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. They have been recommended by The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the most effective against the annoying little beasts.

Iulia Lumanare
Iulia Lumanare is an actress and a screenwriter working on the role of a journalist. Writing and playing at the same time.