High school varsity football scores

Doctors: It might not be the flu, it might be West Nile

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

More mosquitoes in Marion County are testing positive for the potentially deadly West Nile virus. The health department now says 26 samples have come back with infected mosquitoes throughout the county since the end of July. That means there is more of a chance of contracting the virus.

“Fevers, muscle aches, joint aches, sometimes some rash or lymph nodes,” said Dr. Christopher Belcher, pediatric infectious disease doctor.

Dr. Belcher says you’ll feel like you have the flu, which is one of the reasons why you may not realize you have West Nile. But, if you have those symptoms in the summertime, when it’s not flu season, you’re urged to get to a doctor..

“Depending what the doctor finds on you, there may be the choice to look for more common illnesses before that, and, to make an assessment. Blood testing can be done for West Nile virus to see, but it does take a while to get the results back,” said Dr. Belcher.

He said not everyone will be terribly ill, even more, may not even show any symptoms. There is that 1 percent of the population, people who have underlying immune conditions, that could develop severe complications, or even die, though.

And, right now, there’s no treatment for West Nile.

“People have looked at it, and, people are trying some of the medicines that we use for other viruses to see if they will help, but, in general, that category of mosquito carried viruses does not have a lot of treatment available.”

There haven’t been any human cases here this year, but, with the increased number of mosquitoes carrying West Nile in Marion County, and the continued sultry weather, doctors say, prepare yourself.

Read more about West Nile is available at the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html