West Nile Virus Cases Skyrocket, Plus First Case of Chikunguya Virus Disease
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) — West Nile Virus cases have skyrocketed in Fresno County.So far this year, 23 human cases have been confirmed.What concerns Fresno County Public Health officials is more than half, a staggering 14 people have suffered the most severe symptoms, including encephalitis, spinal meningitis, and other attacks on the body's nerves and brain.Linda Renovato's husband got West Nike Virus.She says, "To see my husband who used to be very vital and everyday doing something. To all of a sudden see him in a state that he is bedridden, can't do anything for himself and you see the frustration in him. It's been pretty difficult not just for myself, but for his children too."Unlike previous years, this year, health officials say more victims are contracting the disease in the city compared to rural communities.Now a new mosquito borne illness has surfaced in Fresno County, the Chikungunya Virus.Fresno County Public Health Officer Ken Bird says, "It's spreading slowly around the world. Lately it's arrived in the Caribbean and people who traveled there are bringing it home to the United States. We had one individual from the county who brought it home from outside the country."The symptoms are similar to West Nile like high fever, most also suffer severe joint pain.But what makes this virus so dangerous, the mosquitoes which carry it attack 24 hours a day, unlike the West Nile Virus infected mosquitoes which feed mostly during dawn and dusk.So health experts predict we will soon likely see even more locally transmitted cases of the Chikungunya Virus.