West Nile Virus detected in VT

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Danville, Hartford, Weathersfield, Rockingham, Sudbury, Springfield are all towns across Vermont that have had mosquitos test positive for West Nile Virus.

“So far we’ve tested 20 positives for West Nile Virus. The majority of those, 15 of them have come from the town of Springfield,” said Vermont’s Public Health Veterinarian, Natalie Kwit, who tracks the cases of both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis across the state.

She says this is the time of year we start seeing cases of the mosquito borne diseases pop-up and although these numbers are concerning, the disease might not be as widespread as you would think.

“It’s usually only 2% of the mosquitos that we test that have it. Some areas might have a higher density of it but it’s still a fairly low percentage of that population that’s carrying that disease,” said Judy Rosovsky, Vermont State Entomologist.

In 2017 of the 4300 tests perform in various locations around the state just under 90 tested positive for West Nile Virus and only 3 human cases were reported.

“80 percent of persons infected with West Nile Virus do not show any symptoms 20 percent of those do,” said Kwit.

Milder cases feature fevers, body ache, skin rash and swollen lympnodes.

But of the 20 percent of symptomatic cases less than 1% of those infected with the virus can develop a more serious illness that attacks the neurological system.

“Fever, malaise, joint pain, nausea, vomiting,” said Kwit.

Both Rosovsky and Kwit say keeping the mosquitos away is your best bet to protect yourself.

“Wear EPA registered repellant, wear long sleeves and long pants especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitos that carry West Nile Virus are most active,” said Kwit.

West Nile has not been detected in the North Country, but there have been multiple cases in New Hampshire.

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