Man dies of West Nile fever in Idukki

File photo: IANS.

Idukki: The Kerala state health department on Monday confirmed that the recent death of a man in Idukki was due to West Nile fever. 
Vijayakumar, 24, a native of Maniyarankudi, passed away on Friday.

Vijayakumar contracted the fever while he was undergoing kidney transplant treatment at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. He was initially treated at there and later returned to Idukki after his condition improved. However, upon returning home, his situation worsened and he was admitted to Idukki Medical College Hospital, where he died on Friday. Subsequent tests confirmed that West Nile fever was the cause of his death. 

The West Nile virus can cause a fatal neurological disease in humans but most of those infected may not show any symptoms.
The main symptoms of the infection are headache, fever, muscle aches, dizziness and loss of memory, but most patients do not experience these. Some people experience symptoms like fever, headache, vomiting and itching and in one per cent of the cases, it can lead to brain damage resulting in unconsciousness and sometimes death, said Health Minister Veena George earlier in a statement.
But the death rate is relatively low compared to Japanese encephalitis which shows similar symptoms and is more dangerous.

As there is no medicine or vaccine available against West Nile virus, symptomatic treatment and prevention are key, the minister added. As part of the preventive measures, she suggested wearing clothing that completely covers the body, use of mosquito nets and repellants and keeping one's home and surroundings clean.

The West Nile fever is spread by the Culex species of mosquitoes. It was first detected in 1937 in Uganda. The fever was first detected in Kerala in 2011 and a six-year-old boy from Malappuram died due to the fever in 2019. Thereafter, in May 2022, a 47-year-old man died of the fever in Thrissur district.

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