TDOH announces West Nile case in Johnson County resident

From Staff Reports

   The Tennessee Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed another case of West Nile Virus -- this time in a Johnson County resident.
   State laboratories yielded results that an adult male was infected with the virus. Jamie Swift, Director of Communicable Diseases at the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office, said the man is recovering well.
   "Many people who are infected with the West Nile Virus suffer no or very mild symptoms," Swift said. "Many people never know they were infected."
   The confirmed case brings this year's total number of human cases among Tennessee residents to 51, including 6 deaths. It is the first human case reported in Northeast Tennessee.
   Seventy-six counties have birds that tested positive for the virus, and ten counties have confirmed human cases.
   West Nile is transmitted to humans primarily through mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. According to TDOH, humans cannot contract the virus directly from birds. Nevertheless, officials advise against touching dead birds with bare hands.
   Symptoms of the virus, which generally appear about three to six days after exposure, include mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches lasting only a few days. Some who are infected may also have a mild rash or swollen lymph glands.
   Health officials stressed the risk to humans remains low, and that most people who become infected with West Nile Virus suffer only mild problems. On rare occasions, infection can result in a severe and sometimes fatal disease known as West Nile encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) or meningitis. The risk of the diseases is higher among persons over 50 years of age.
   Symptoms of meningitis or encephalitis are severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and coma.
   For protection, health officials advise the public to limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, to wear protective clothing such as pants and long sleeved shirts, and to use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET.
   Health officials also advise keeping doors and windows closed or covering them with screens and eliminating mosquito-breeding sites by emptying receptacles that can collect stagnant water.