Even before we could forget the aftermath of Zika virus, another major epidemic is all set to hit Kerala in the form of West Nile virus.

The latest news item of a 7-year-old boy succumbing to the complications caused to West Nile virus, has created a sense of panic among the Indian public.

Seven-year-old Mohamad Shan was admitted to Kozhikode Medical College last week with this rare fever and despite best efforts, he died on the early hours of March 18. He was the first case of West Nile virus reported in Kerala and the central government has reportedly rushed a team of medical experts to take stock of the situation in north Malabar region of the state.

What Is West Nile Virus?

West Nile virus spreads from birds to humans through the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. The symptoms may mimic regular flu like cold, fever, body ache, fatigue and nausea.

If not treated on time, the virus spreads at a faster pace throughout the body and can lead to meningitis and could be fatal.

Should We Worry?

West Nile virus is certainly a cause for worry. However, authorities have ensured that there is no need to panic as the deceased child was in quarantined and his family members are under medical observation. The Kerala health minister K K Shylaja in a press release said that, the medical authorities are on high alert as per the protocol issued by the World Health Organization and are closely monitoring the situation.

Mosquito-Proof Your Surroundings

Since, West Nile virus spreads through mosquitoes, do the following to keep your surroundings mosquito free. Ensure clean environment by clearing stagnant water, use mosquito repellents, window screens, mosquito nets and keep surroundings dry.

There is no specific vaccine or treatment available right now. The patient may require intravenous fluids and other medical support as a part of treatment protocol.