Just days after issuing a mosquito advisory, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH -Pinellas) has received positive confirmation of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a 32-year-old male from Clearwater.
This is the sixth WNV case reported in Florida so far this year–Escambia (2), Walton (2) and Volusia (1) are where the other human cases have been reported.
As of Aug. 28, there have been 23 positive tests for West Nile Virus in sentinel chickens from Pinellas County Mosquito Control coops. As a result, the risk of transmission to humans in the county increased. In 2015, positive samples from five humans, eight mosquito pools, and 76 sentinel chickens have been received from 14 counties in Florida.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. For most people, the risk of serious illness is low. However, some individuals – less than one percent – can develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis.
People 50 years of age or older and people with diabetes and/or high blood pressure have the greatest risk of developing serious complications.
303 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC, as of Aug. 25 with California, Arizona and Texasaccounting for 45 percent of cases.
Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today