West Nile Virus (WNV)

Last Updated: July 28, 2018

Definition - What does West Nile Virus (WNV) mean?

West Nile Virus is an infectious disease that is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when biting birds that carry the West Nile Virus. The majority of people who are infected with the virus do not develop any of the symptoms, however, those that do can face a potentially fatal neurological disease. There are no vaccinations available to prevent the West Nile Virus in humans although there is a vaccine for horses.

WorkplaceTesting explains West Nile Virus (WNV)

The West Nile Virus is found in parts of Asia, America, Africa, and Europe. The only way to prevent contracting the virus is to wear protective clothing or repellents that prevent mosquito bites or to avoid exposure by using mosquito nets and screens. The symptoms of the virus are fever, headache, body aches and pains, tremors, vomiting and paralysis. The minority of infected people who develop symptoms are at high risk of developing a neuroinvasive disease, such as meningitis, if they are over the age of 60 years old or suffer from certain medical conditions such as cancer. Treatment of the virus involves managing the fever through medication or, in advanced cases, hospitalization.

Because of the prevalence of mosquitoes in some habitats, it is important for companies in threat areas to educate their employees on the use of mosquito repellants and provide protection to employees who might be at high risk due to the location and nature of their work.

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