Flu outbreak 2013: 4 other viruses to beware of

West Nile virus

The recent West Nile virus outbreak was the largest ever seen in the United States, according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, 38 states had reported human infections which resulted in nearly 50 deaths nationally. Although in areas where mosquitoes carry the virus, only about one in 500 mosquitoes is infected, around 80 percent of people bit by a mosquito infected with the West Nile virus do not get sick, according to the CDC and 20 percent will have relatively mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and vomiting. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days or as long as a few weeks. About one in 150 people infected with West Nile will develop a severe illness, which can include paralysis, coma or death.

Those older than 50 are the most likely to become severely ill with West Nile and should take special care to avoid mosquitoes, according to the CDC. If you develop symptoms of severe West Nile virus illness, such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately, according to the CDC. Severe illness usually requires hospitalization. Milder cases improve on their own and do not necessarily require medical attention.

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