The West Nile virus is continuing to claim human lives across the United States, especially in the state of California. Eight people within the state have now died from the virus this year. An eighty four year old woman named Julie Shepherd was the latest victim of the West Nile virus in California. Shepherd was hospitalized a month ago after one of her neighbors found her lying helplessly on the floor of her West Covina home. Shepherd had become paralyzed and unable to speak soon after contracting the virus. Her doctors were quick to diagnose Shepherd with the West Nile virus. Unfortunately, there is not a vaccine for this virus, so Shepherd’s family was forced to stand by with the hopes that she would recover. According to doctors, a victim will either recover within ten to fifteen days after contracting the virus or the symptoms will worsen, usually resulting in death. Sadly, Shepherd passed away on Monday. The West Nile season is far from over, and experts predict that many more residents of California will succumb to the disease. The West Nile virus is the deadliest mosquito-borne virus in the state of California.
Most people who contract the virus will not experience any symptoms, but a small number of victims can become brain damaged or die as a result of the virus. Three people have died from the virus in Los Angeles County alone. Health professionals are strongly advising the public to take the proper precautions before setting foot outside, as the month of September sees the highest number of West Nile cases. According to Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, Deputy Director of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department’s Acute Communicable Disease Program, every resident of California, and elsewhere, should be concerned about the virus, and not just the elderly. Communities all across L.A. have been affected by West Nile this year, but Los Feliz, Glendale, Atwater Village and the San Fernando Valley are seeing particularly high cases of the virus. So far this year one hundred and seventy four individuals have fallen ill from the virus.
Do you believe that next year will see an even higher rate of West Nile infections within the state of California? If yes, then why is the West Nile virus becoming more dangerous each year? Do you believe climate change is a factor?