Maryland Records First Confirmed Case Of West Nile Virus For 2016

DHMH getting the word out about preventing this disease.

Baltimore, Md. (KM)  Maryland has its first confirmed case of West Nile Virus for 2016. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says an adult in western Maryland contracted the disease, but survived.

West Nile Virus is spread by mosquito bites. Dr. Catherine Feldman, the State Public Health Veterinarian, says this breed which  spreads this disease is active between dusk and dawn. She says if you go out after dark, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself. “Apply repellent. So use an EPA-registered repellent according to the label,” he says. “If you’re out at dusk and dawn, when the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus are out, make sure to wear–or try to wear; it’s hard in this heat of summer–long pants, long sleeves,” she says.

DHMH says the mosquito breed in Maryland which transmits West Nile Virus is not the one that spreads the Zika virus. That mosquito is around day and night.

Dr. Feldman says most people who are bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile Virus often don’t develop any symptoms. “A small number of people will develop a fever, and generally feel lousy. And then that will resolve on its own,” she says.

But  “a small proportion of people”  could develop more serious forms of the disease, according to Dr. Feldman. “That’s when the virus invades the central nervous system, and it can cause encephalitis,” she says.

Mosquitoes breed in bodies of water, and DHMH urges residents to remove any standing water from their properties ” such as kids toys; making sure you empty birdbaths frequently; tipping out anything that can collect water, especially after a rainstorm,” says Dr. Feldman. She also says that includes removing old tires; drilling drainage holes in tires used as playground equipment; and turn over wading pools, wagons and carts when not in use; and turning garbage can lids upside down and making sure trash cans are empty of water.

DHMH says West Nile Virus was also detected in mosquito pools in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Pools are a group of mosquitoes collected at trap sites across the state.

Also, the Department says it has found Eastern Equine Encephalitis in mosquitoes on the Eastern Shore.