LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Metro Louisville has had its first lab confirmed case of West Nile virus in a human. There is still a lot we do not know about the person involved because authorities will not release their identity, but we have been told that the person is recovering.
While one case is not cause for panic, it is definitely a warning to protect yourself. There has been one case of the virus every year for the past three years in Louisville, and this year is no exception. But, with an alarming number of cases being reported around the country, this could be just the beginning.
"The bottom line message that I would give a patient would be, try to be very diligent about prevention and assume that that one case could turn into many cases just like it has in the southwest," said Dr. Paul Schulz, an infectious disease specialist at Norton Hospital.
Not much can be done to treat West Nile virus once a person is infected, so the key is prevention, says Dr. Schulz. “My recommendation is to be preemptive. Even when we didn't have cases in Louisville, we had cases in Southern Indiana and Southern Ohio and my approach with my family and what I recommend to others is to be preemptive and try and prevent mosquito bites."
So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to break out the insect repellent. One with at least 10% DEET for adults and no more than 10 percent for children is recommended. Also, avoid standing water where mosquitoes are likely to swarm. Symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. However, four out of five people who are infected with the West Nile virus will not develop any type of illness.