After reports of two human West Nile virus (WNV) in Walton County during the past week, health officials in Volusia County have reported a human case, the third in the state.
This has prompted Volusia County health officials to issue a mosquito advisory to warn the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts to include draining standing water, wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent that contains DEET or similar effective ingredients.
West Nile virus is transmitted to people through the bite of a mosquito that picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people who are infected will have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Some people will develop a fever with other symptoms like headache, body aches, vomiting, fatigue and weakness.
Less than one percent of people will develop a serious illness like encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues). People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.
In 2014, Florida reported 17 WNV cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The worst year for WNV in Florida since the virus was first detected in the US in 1999 was 2003 when 94 cases were reported.