The CDC held released another West Nile virus update this week.
They started by stating that they are 'hopeful that the worst of the outbreak is behind us.' However, since West Nile virus season will likely last into October, it is still important to protect yourself and your kids from mosquito bites.
The latest numbers about the West Nile virus update include:
- a total of 2,636 cases (up from 1,993 cases the previous week)
- 118 deaths (up from 87 deaths the previous week)
- 1,405 neuroinvasive cases (meningitis or encephalitis)
- 1,231 non-neuroinvasive cases
And again, two-thirds of all cases have reported from six states (Texas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, Michigan, and Oklahoma), with 40% from just Texas alone.
An important take-away from the CDC briefing include that experts 'don't recommend routine testing for West Nile fever cases.' These people might have a fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, and a rash. Testing is usually reserved for those people with more serious, neuroinvasive disease, with symptoms that might include a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, vision loss, and numbness and paralysis, etc. So you don't have to ask your pediatrician for West Nile virus testing just because your child has a fever, especially if he otherwise seems well. This kind of testing has likely contributed to shortages of test kits at some labs.
And while we haven't heard a lot about the pediatric side of this epidemic, there was a comment in the briefing that should be reassuring to many parents - 'anybody is at risk, just children are lucky in that they're less likely to get severe disease.'
Of course, you still have to take precautions though, including that your kids wear insect repellent and protective clothing and that you empty standing water around your home so that mosquitoes can't breed easily.