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Global Health Risk: West Nile Virus

Global Health Risk: West Nile Virus

Global Health Risk: West Nile Virus


For this assignment, you will introduce the health issue and discuss the interventions necessary to prevent the issue and promote health.

West Nile virus
Include the following in your paper:

Introduction/overview of the health issue and the prevalence in the United States and worldwide

Contributing factors

Prevention strategies

Signs and symptoms

Diagnostic tests (if applicable)

Advanced practice nursing role and management strategies

Medical/pharmacological management (if applicable)

Follow-up care


Global Health Risk: West Nile Virus

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Global Health Risk: West Nile Virus
Various health conditions are on the significant rise globally, causing devastating impacts on the population’s health and the general quality of life. Some of these conditions are communicable, transmissible from one individual to the other, while others are non-communicable, indicating that they are not transmitted from one person to the other. Different factors promote the development of a health condition, and these can be personal or behavioral factors or environmental factors. This paper focuses on global health risks associated with the West Nile Virus. It will incorporate a general overview of this health issue, the contributing factors, the prevention strategies, signs and symptoms, diagnostic tests, the advanced practice nursing role and management strategies, medical management of this condition, and follow-up care for the condition.
Overview of the Health Issue
West Nile virus is the pathogenic microorganism responsible for causing West Nile fever. The virus is spread by mosquitoes and can infect many organisms such as humans, horses, birds, and other mammals. Although rare, the virus can also spread through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, or through the placenta to infect the fetus (Chancey et al., 2015). Additionally, the virus commonly occurs during the late summer and early fall. Since the surprise detection of the West Nile Virus in New York in 1999, the virus has spread dramatically across the US and the border nations, causing the largest epidemic of West Nile virus ever to be reported. More than 7000 neuro-invasive cases of West Nile virus were reported in the US between 1999 and 2004 (Chancey et al., 2015). More cases have been recorded ever since, as the infection spread to other states within the US and other bordering nations, as well as other continents. The West Nile virus cases have been identified in other states, including Uganda, Pakistan, and Iran, among others. There have also been outbreaks in other nations such as Greece, where high fatality rates were recorded in central Macedonia (Chancey et al., 2015). This virus, therefore, continues to be a global health concern, as it traverses various boundaries and is not limited to a particular continental or country boundaries.
Contributing Factors
Some established factors contribute to infection by this virus. Anyone bitten by a mosquito in a region where birds carry this virus is susceptible to this infection. Given the vast global coverage, any bite by a mosquito could predispose one to infection (Montgomery & Murray, 2015). The risk increases with increasing mosquito bites. The immune status of the host has a significant role in the development of this infection. Some of these individual factors which increase the risk include; advanced age, chronic health conditions such as cancer, diabetes and kidney diseases, alcohol abuse, and recent chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy (Montgomery & Murray, 2015). Such risks, therefore, require the affected individual to work closely with the healthcare providers, even if what they experience is a simple cold.
Prevention Strategies
West Nile virus infections can cause serious fatalities, especially among the high-risk groups. It is therefore important to adhere to preventive strategies to minimize the chances of getting infected. Since there is no effective vaccine so far, and the transmission is primarily due to mosquito bites, the most effective preventive measure is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites (Kolimenakis et al., 2016). This can be through insect repellants, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and lastly, taking necessary steps to control mosquitoes both indoors and outdoors.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of West Nile virus infection occur mainly due to the body’s immune response against the virus. The majority of individuals with West Nile virus do not develop symptoms. Out of ten infected with the virus, approximately two will develop symptoms. When symptoms develop, they include; fever, joint pain, body aches, headache, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and rash (Bai et al., 2019). A few individuals develop complications, which include; encephalitis or meningitis. Such severe illnesses cause signs such as high fever, convulsions, disorientation, neck stiffness, numbness, paralysis, and vision loss (Bai et al., 2019).
Diagnostic Tests
Diagnosis of West Nile virus exclusively relies on the clinical history and laboratory tests. The laboratory investigation involves immunoassay of either serum or cerebrospinal fluid of affected patients to detect the presence of WNV-specific IgM antibodies (Vanichanan et al., 2016). The antibodies usually develop 3 to 8 days after the onset of illness and can persist for 30 to 90 days. Other diagnostic tests include reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which can be performed on serum, cerebrospinal fluid, or tissue specimens (Vanichanan et al., 2016). The other diagnostic test is immunohistochemistry, which can detect the presence of WNV antigen in formalin-fixed tissues.
Advanced Practice Nursing Role and Management Strategies
Achieving better health outcomes for patients, especially those having severe illnesses, require collaboration among different health practitioners. Advanced practice nurse has a critical role in providing evidence-based care to the patients to help them recover from the illness, through medications and collaborating with other professionals to tailor care to the patients. The nurse also helps educate the population on preventing themselves from infections by adhering to the prevention strategies (Kolimenakis et al., 2016).
Medical/Pharmacological Management
There is no specific medication to treat West Nile virus infections. Management is generally supportive to enable the patients to recover and have better health outcomes (Sinigaglia et al., 2020). However, patients with severe illnesses such as meningeal symptoms require rehydration, pain medications for the headaches, and antiemetics to prevent vomiting. Those with brain injuries require multidisciplinary management, involving specialists such as a speech therapist, a psychiatrist, physical therapist, a nurse, occupational therapist, a neuropsychologist, and a social worker to enable them to achieve better health outcomes (Sinigaglia et al., 2020).
Follow-up Care
The outpatient follow-up care requires consultation with specialists, such as the neuropsychologist, speech therapist, physical therapist, and occupational therapist, to address all other needs of the patients and enable them to achieve better health outcomes (Sinigaglia et al., 2020).
In summary, various health conditions affect the health of the general population. West Nile virus is a global health concern, given its worldwide prevalence. Its symptoms are so devastating, especially among high-risk individuals who develop severe illnesses. Management of infections caused by this virus requires a multidisciplinary approach, especially when dealing with severe illness cases. Lastly, the population needs to embrace the preventive strategy effective in preventing these infections, mainly through the prevention of mosquito bites.

Bai, F., Thompson, E. A., Vig, P. J., & Leis, A. A. (2019). Current understanding of West Nile virus clinical manifestations, immune responses, neuroinvasion, and immunotherapeutic implications. Pathogens, 8(4), 193.
Chancey, C., Grinev, A., Volkova, E., & Rios, M. (2015). The global ecology and epidemiology of West Nile virus. BioMed research international, 2015.
Kolimenakis, A., Bithas, K., Richardson, C., Latinopoulos, D., Baka, A., Vakali, A., … & Koliopoulos, G. (2016). Economic appraisal of the public control and prevention strategy against the 2010 West Nile virus outbreak in Central Macedonia, Greece. Public health, 131, 63-70.
Montgomery, R. R., & Murray, K. O. (2015). Risk factors for West Nile virus infection and disease in populations and individuals. Expert review of anti-infective therapy, 13(3), 317-325.
Sinigaglia, A., Peta, E., Riccetti, S., & Barzon, L. (2020). New avenues for therapeutic discovery against West Nile virus. Expert opinion on drug discovery, 15(3), 333-348.
Vanichanan, J., Salazar, L., Wootton, S. H., Aguilera, E., Garcia, M. N., Murray, K. O., & Hasbun, R. (2016). Use of testing for West Nile virus and other arboviruses. Emerging infectious diseases, 22(9), 1587.

Global Health Risk: West Nile Virus

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