First Case Of West Nile Virus In Maryland Detected In 2023

An adult living on the Eastern Shore has contracted the virus.

West Nile Virus (Photo from Wikipedia)

Baltimore, Md (KM) Maryland has recorded its first case of West Nile Virus this year. The State Department of Health says an adult living on the Eastern Shore has come down with the disease. The patient is recovering from the infection.

West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes which were infected by feeding on birds which have the virus. . It can spread from person to person by organ donation, blood transfusion, breastfeeding or from mother to fetus.

West Nile Virus affects the nervous system, and up to 80 percent of those who contract the disease don’t display any signs of the illness, the Health Department says. But those who have underlying health conditions could become seriously ill.

“We are in the season when West Nile Virus can spread in Maryland,” says Dr. Nilesh Kalyananraman, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services, in a statement. “We urge people to be vigilant and take steps to avoid infection and eliminate standing pools of water where mosquitoes breed. Our teams are continuing to monitor mosquito activity across the state.”

Most people do not develop symptoms from this virus. But the Health Department says some people who do become infected  experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache and body rash. Occasionally, a skin rash or swollen lymph nodes can be noticed. These symptoms can last a few days, or as long as several weeks.

People who are age 50 and older or have immunocompromised conditions  can become seriously ill, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

Health officials says anyone who is concerned about mosquitoes can cover up their exposed skin and use an EPA-registered insect repellent.

Land owners are strongly encouraged to watch out for mosquito activity on their properties, and remove any standing water which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The Health Department says even smaller amounts of water in a discarded can or container can support dozens of mosquitoes, along with clogged rain gutters or drain pipes.

By Kevin McManus