Thursday, October 27, 2011

West Nile Virus Carrying Mosquito Found on Combat Center

Just because this is the Mojave Desert with little apparent water about, doesn’t mean that there are no mosquitoes flying around.

In the past years there have been cases of West Nile virus reported in the lower desert of the Coachella Valley. Just recently a mosquito was found on the Combat Center. “This type of mosquito is known to carry the West Nile virus,” said Lieutenant Shelley Griffith, Public Health Officer at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “People over the age of 50 and people who have ever received a solid organ transplant are more likely to develop serious symptoms of West Nile virus.” However, the CDC points out that a small number of people (about 1 in 150) who get infected with West Nile virus can develop a severe disease called West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis.

Symptoms include headache, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, coma and paralysis. These symptoms may last for several weeks and neurological effects may be permanent. Contact your Primary Care Provider if you develop any of these symptoms. “Most people who get West Nile virus don’t feel sick, but it can lead to a serious illness,” said Griffith. “It is important that you contact your health care provider if you develop any symptoms,” she added.

“You can protect yourself and your family from West Nile virus infected Mosquitoes by removing any standing water,” Griffith said. “Mosquito larva can survive anywhere water may be pooled, such as un-kept swimming pools at vacant properties, old tires or from around the leaking sprinkler system in your yard,” she added. “Prevention is the best way to keep from getting sick.” Griffith said.

The Preventive Medicine Department at Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital will be surveying the Combat Center looking mosquitoes when they are most prevalent. This will include identifying and testing of any mosquitoes that are found. If you have any questions please contact LT Shelley A Griffith at 760-830-2474 or by email at