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Could West Nile virus outbreak leave victims with a disability?

Many people who are receiving Social Security Disability benefits for illness are suffering from cancer, heart disease or mental disorders. But, according to a recent report, there may be another problem to worry about in California: the long-term effects of West Nile virus.

The report indicates that Orange County in particular has been hit by an outbreak of West Nile virus recently. The disease is spread by mosquito bites. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people infected with the virus in Orange County this year: the number is up sevenfold from 2013, up to 94 people so far this year. To put that in perspective, the report states that nationwide there have only been 400 cases reported in total, including the 94 in Orange County.

While in most cases the effects of West Nile virus can be treated, unfortunately three of the people who were infected in Orange County this year died. The reports indicate that a stunning 80 percent of the mosquitoes that have been tested for the virus in that area tested positive. Long-term effects from an infection with West Nile virus are a possibility, although fortunately it is pretty rare for this to occur. But, the effects can include nervous system issues that can be permanent, and that may leave someone who has been infected disabled.

Any illness that leaves a California resident unable to work could leave the person with no other choice but to file for SSD benefits. Qualifying for SSD benefits for illness can be complicated, and an applicant will probably want to ensure that they have adequate medical documentation of the illness prior to filing their application for benefits.

Source: Fox News, "West Nile outbreak hits California's Orange County," Sept. 10, 2014

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