Convalescence after West Nile virus infection can be protracted, particularly for older adults, researchers in New York have found. Physical, cognitive and functional impairments often last more than 18 months after the initial illness. "These findings reinforce the need for local governments in affected areas to institute widespread public health measures to safeguard against West Nile virus transmission," Dr. Denis Nash, of the New York Academy of Medicine, and associates write in the medical journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. Nash's team interviewed 40 patients, ranging in age from 16 to 90 years, at 6, 12, and 18 months after they were diagnosed with West Nile in 1999. At 12 months, only 37 percent of the subjects were considered fully recovered. Younger age was the only significant factor linked to recovery, while the severity of illness or whether it involved brain inflammation did not affect recovery. Eighteen months after infection more than 40 percent reported difficulties with walking, muscle weakness, fatigue or insomnia, the researchers report, and 30 percent were still experiencing memory loss, confusion, depression and irritability. Functional ability seemed to reach a plateau, with no improvement after 12 months. This information reinforces the need "for persons - especially those age 65 and over - to take precautions to avoid exposure to mosquitoes and reduce mosquito breeding sites on their properties," Nash and his colleagues conclude. , informs Reuters Health. According to First a horse in Ventura County tested positive for the West Nile virus and now health officials have announced the county’s first human infection. An unidentified 32-year old man who lives in Kern County and works in Ventura County during the week is recovering from the mosquito-borne virus, according to public environmental health officials who made the announcement on Friday. The patient, who first became ill during the first week of August, is improving and expected to fully recover. The Kern County man went to an emergency room where testing indicated he had aseptic meningitis, which has similar symptoms to West Nile virus including muscle and head aches as well as fever. The man had also suffered backache and muscle ache a week earlier, he told physicians who suspected West Nile virus and tests conducted later by the county and the state Department of Health Services confirmed same. The man was treated but not hospitalized. State health officials have reported 168 human infections in nine counties and five deaths from the virus. Just a day earlier, on Aug. 12, the announcement was made that a horse in Camarillo had tested positive for the disease. The horse had reportedly started showing symptoms on July 30 and was tested Aug. 30. Although there is an equine vaccination, the horse had not received the protection against the West Nile virus. There is no vaccination for humans, publishes Santa Paula Times.
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