Home Medical News West Nile Fever Hits Kerala: Government Urges Vigilance and Preventive Measures

West Nile Fever Hits Kerala: Government Urges Vigilance and Preventive Measures

by Dr. Shruthi R
West Nile Fever Hits Kerala: Government Urges Vigilance and Preventive Measures

Kerala has reported multiple cases of West Nile fever, with one death and six infections. The virus spreads through Culex mosquitoes, causing symptoms in about 20% of infected individuals, and can lead to severe neurological diseases.

The Kerala government has reported multiple cases of West Nile fever in Thrissur, Malappuram, and Kozhikode districts. One person has died, and six others are affected. State Health Minister Veena George has called for vigilance and mosquito control measures.

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne, single-stranded RNA virus related to Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever viruses. It primarily spreads through Culex mosquitoes, which become infected by feeding on infected birds. It can also spread through blood transfusions, from mother to child, and lab exposure.


Approximately 80% of those infected with WNV are asymptomatic. The rest may develop West Nile fever, exhibiting symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, rash, and swollen glands. Severe cases can lead to neurological diseases such as encephalitis or meningitis, particularly in individuals with comorbidities or compromised immune systems.

Treatment and Prevention

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for WNV. Supportive care is provided for severe cases. Preventive measures include using mosquito repellents, wearing protective clothing, using mosquito nets, and ensuring clean surroundings to reduce mosquito breeding sites. Health authorities also recommend active animal health surveillance to detect cases in birds and horses.

Historical Context

WNV was first identified in Uganda in 1937 and has since spread globally, following major bird migratory routes. In India, the virus has been detected in humans and mosquitoes in various states, including Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.

While the West Nile virus can be serious, the Kerala government and health experts emphasize the importance of mosquito control and preventive measures to manage and reduce the risk of infection.

Preventive Measures:

  • Use mosquito repellents and nets.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing.
  • Keep surroundings clean to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • Regularly monitor and control mosquito populations.

By implementing these measures, the risk of West Nile fever can be significantly reduced. It is crucial for individuals, especially those in affected areas, to remain vigilant and seek medical attention if they exhibit symptoms.

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