Second case of human West Nile Virus confirmed in Knox County

Second case of human West Nile Virus confirmed in Knox County

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The health department on Monday confirmed a second human case of West Nile Virus in Knox County.

Officials are not releasing any information about where the person lives in the county.

The mosquito population will rapidly decline over the next few days due to cooler temperatures, officials said.

The health department has continued spraying multiple areas of Knox County to help fight the disease, which is spread by infected mosquitoes. People typically develop symptoms between 3 and 14 days after they're bitten.

Even though it's almost October, there's still a risk. "There's the potential for West Nile Virus infection as long as we have warm days and warm nights. So if we consistently have coolness as it gets later into October, probably it will be less of a problem of contracting West Nile Virus," explained Darci Hodge, Director of Infection Control at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

The change in weather is also a factor if it gets too cool. "If the temperature drops below 55 at night when we will be spraying, we can't spray because that's according to the label. We can't spray if it's below 55, so we'll be monitoring the weather very closely," said Ronnie Nease, Director of Environmental Health for the Knox County Health Department.

Crews can't spray if the wind blows at a speed higher than 15 miles an hour.

The health department wants to remind people to keep watching for standing water. "We had lots of water last week. If it turns warm again, we're going to have lots of breeding occurring in standing water. So do a survey of your home and property and ask your neighbors to do a survey of their home or property because if you do and they don't, it doesn't help any," Nease said.

As long as we're still seeing warm temps, health officials say to keep bug repellant handy. "If they see mosquitoes in the evening, because that's when they like to come out at dusk and in the evening, if they're still seeing mosquitoes then there is still that possibility for WNV to be transferred to and from a mosquito," Hodge explained.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about one in 150 people who are infected will develop severe illness.

The severe symptoms can include: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

The virus causes milder symptoms in up to 20 percent of those infected. Those symptoms include: fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. The symptoms can last as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

About four out of five people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not show any symptoms at all.

There's no specific treatment for West Nile infection.

The CDC says if you develop severe symptoms such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately. Severe cases usually require hospitalization.

6 News Reporter Jessa Lewis contributed to this report.

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