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Combat West Nile Virus!

  • Published
  • By Public Health Flight
  • 82d AMDS
In the last week, there have been two confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Wichita Falls.  As such, it is essential for Team Sheppard to be properly informed about this illness and that everyone understands the precautions necessary to prevent this disease.

WNV is transmitted through the bites of infective mosquitoes (only some mosquito species can carry the virus). Moreover, only 20 percent of people infected with the virus will develop any noticeable symptoms.  If symptoms develop, they will occur approximately 3-14 days after being bitten.  Symptoms are similar to flu infections and can include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, body aches, and skin rash.  It is important to stress that less than 1% of infected people suffer severe symptoms which can include high fever, disorientation, tremors, vision loss, or  paralysis.

There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment to combat WNV infections.  As such, treatment is centered on symptom relief with over-the-counter pain relievers which also reduce fever.  Supportive treatment will also focus on the replenishment of body fluids.
Every individual should take responsibility when it comes to combating WNV infections.  The most prudent measure to prevent the disease is focus on the following:
· Use insect repellents containing DEET.  Products with DEET can be purchased at your local store (Base Exchange, Commissary, etc.)
· Wear protective clothing when outdoors such as long sleeves and pants
· Removal of standing water in your surrounding area as they can be breeding areas for mosquitoes (i.e. old tires, clogged gutter and drains, flower pots and pet dishes)
· Install or repair broken and torn screens around windows and doors

The 82d AMDS Public Health Flight stands ready and prepared for the threats posed by WNV (and other mosquito-borne diseases).  Public Health diligently surveys for mosquitoes twice each week.  All mosquito specimens are sent to the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright Patterson AFB for identification and testing for the presence of viruses and pathogens.  There have been no WNV-positive mosquitoes trapped on Sheppard AFB this year.  Additionally, mosquito populations are closely monitored and spikes in numbers are reported to Pest Management so that appropriate control measures can be taken.

For more information on WNV and other vector-borne diseases, please contact the 82d AMDS Public Health Flight at 676-3052 or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at: