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Sep 8, 2021
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West Nile fever reaches Moscow

West Nile fever reaches Moscow

At the very end of summer, on August 30, Rospotrebnadzor reported that in the fall in some regions of Russia in the next month or two, there may be a high number of mosquitoes – carriers of West Nile fever and the risk of transmission of the pathogen remains.

The fact is that, like virologists, epidemiologists believe that the current abnormally hot summer has become a favorable condition for a more active spread of the exotic virus, and given the approach of Indian summer, which, as forecasters promise, will still delight us with high temperatures, we need to be on the alert and do not neglect the methods of protection against mosquitoes. Especially for those who go to fish, engage in summer cottage work on the site, for a walk in the forest or hunting for mushrooms. As they say, the bloodsucker does not sleep, and the moisture brought by the rains, coupled with the warm weather, are favorable conditions for its activity.

The natural reservoir for Nile encephalitis is wild birds. In winter, they fly to hot countries, where mosquitoes infect them with a virus, and in summer, returning from Africa to their usual habitats, they bring in themselves a dangerous infection. Local mosquitoes, having tasted the infected blood of a bird, bite a person, and then with their saliva inject the virus into his blood. According to another version, infected mosquitoes give birth to sick offspring, which then infects a person.

In Russia, the natural focus of the disease since about 1999 has settled in the south of the country – in Kalmykia, Astrakhan, Volgograd and Rostov regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol territories and a number of other regions. However, due to the changing climate and newly formed bird nests in recent years, the fever is slowly but surely moving north. Cases of a dangerous tropical disease were recorded in Voronezh and Lipetsk. And recently the capital’s ornithologists were shocked by the results of laboratory studies of the tissues of the crows that died in Moscow. They were found to contain the West Nile virus. If this is not a fake, it turns out that Nile encephalitis has already reached the heart of Russia?

– It is a worldwide problem when vectors of tropical diseases, which, in principle, should not appear in the north, migrate to areas that have become suitable for them in terms of temperature conditions. A similar picture is observed in Europe. Scientists predict that by 2050, mosquitoes carrying tropical diseases will spread even in Sweden. In our country, they have been breeding for the last thirty years in the south, and now they are moving to Central Russia, ”says the director of the Institute of Medical Parasitology, Tropical and Vector-borne Diseases. E.I. Martsinovsky, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Lukashev.

To avoid infection with an exotic virus, when visiting forest park areas and recreation areas on the banks of water bodies, preferably wear light protective clothing, covering the body as much as possible; apply repellents to skin and clothing; install mosquito nets on windows; in home gardens, clear stagnant water from ditches.

Forewarned – armed

West Nile Fever is caused by the virus of the same name, which was first detected in the blood of a sick woman in 1937 in Uganda. An acute infectious disease is transmitted to humans by blood-sucking insects. Often, the disease is asymptomatic or with symptoms similar to a common ARVI: fever, headache and muscle pain, nausea, fever, swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes skin rashes appear. But it happens that the disease is difficult – with a high fever, severe headache and muscle pain, confusion, tremors and convulsions.

Infection with the virus can lead to encephalitis or meningitis, so it is better to consult a doctor even if you suspect a fever, because a lethal outcome is not excluded.

Elena Kazantseva.

Photo: ADOBE STOCK

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