The West Nile Virus

The West Nile Virus

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The West Nile Virus

**Let it be known that I am writing this account in the hope that it may someday benefit future generations, although I hope for their sake that the world has by then tamed the West Nile Virus.

First and foremost, mosquitoes are the human beings' enemy in the battle against West Nile Virus. This is not to say that we as humans should declare an all out war on the creatures, but rather that people need to be especially aware during the months of August and September of avoiding those areas (such as those near standing water) which attract mosquitoes. Those who spend a great deal of time outside are obviously more susceptible to mosquito bites, and as such I highly recommend that such persons wear long sleeved shirts and long pants at all times. So far, this method has kept me and a great many of my acquaintances safe from the dreaded bite.

Currently, our leading scientists also believe that using insect repellent which contains the chemical DEET will also severely cut down one's chances of being bitten. Yet, we must always keep in mind that relatively few of these creatures are actual carriers of the virus, and that most humans who are bitten by a mosquito will never contract any form of West Nile Virus. If one should be unlucky enough to be bitten by an infected mosquito (who most likely contracted the virus from an infected bird), there are certain symptoms which have been observed in West Nile epidemics which one should watch for.

My curious readers, I must emphasize the fact that per my own observations, up to 80% of those persons bitten by an infected mosquito will be asymptomatic and thus will have nothing to worry about. Yet those who develop what we are currently calling the "mild symptoms" of the virus, may exhibit any combination of the following symptoms: fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. One will exhibit any or all of these wretched symptoms, which I myself have observed to last no more than a few days.

Yet with this form of the virus, death and permanent neurological damage have yet to occur as a direct result. The mild symptoms make up what we are referring to as "West Nile Fever," as opposed to the much more severe cases of the virus which are being classified in three groups at this point in time: West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis, and West Nile poliomyelitis.

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All three forms of this severe strain are terribly destructive and horrifically painful for those who contract them. What is more, I believe this to be the case because our current studies show that West Nile Virus is a violent attack upon a person's central nervous system. A purely neuroinvasive disease, one who has not seen the insides of a victim cannot imagine how horrific the bodily damage truly is.

Symptoms ranging from stupor, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, vision loss, convulsion, and paralysis have all been observed by me and those I live amongst. These traumatic symptoms last for weeks on end, and to add to the madness of this, the neurological damage it does appears to be permanent in the very few survivors which exist. One cannot help but wonder whether those poor souls who succumb to the virus are actually the lucky ones, as opposed to the brain damaged survivors. After all, I am most grieved to concede to the reader of my account that we currently have no specific treatment or cure for the severe cases of the virus. Hopefully future generations will acquire the knowledge and methods necessary for defeating this horrible epidemic disease.

This West Nile epidemic disease is peculiar in nature, not only for the fact that it appears to severely harm (and therefore possible kills) only 1 out of 150 people which are infected with it, but also because of the widespread devastation it inflicts on society as a whole. Especially in underdeveloped nations, the effects of the disease take a large toll on the social, economic, emotional, and intellectual aspects of every day life.

Yet one need not look any further than those cases which have been observed in my own country to see that the West Nile Virus has the potential to be one of the gravest epidemics of all time. With a large number of the population infected, society shuts down. People cannot work, children cannot go to school, and as such life changes for the worst. What is perhaps most daunting about this disease is that it could spread world wide while there is still no known cure for it. The hysteria and depression which this idea causes within my own society, as well as others, is virtually indescribable. Just know that if the West Nile Virus is not contained, nature will continue to be at war and then eventually become the winner in its battle with mankind.
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