By NewsDesk @bactiman63
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention received confirmation this week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that an adult resident of Cumberland County recently contracted a mosquito-borne illness, likely West Nile virus (WNV). The individual is hospitalized. This is the first case of a locally acquired mosquito-borne arboviral illness in a Maine resident since 2018.
West Nile virus is a potentially serious disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito that can infect humans, birds, horses, and some other mammals. It is part of a group of viruses that includes Dengue, Saint Louis Encephalitis, Yellow Fever, and Zika. Maine has not detected WNV in mosquito collections this year, but New Hampshire and Massachusetts have reported positive WNV activity in mosquitoes this summer and fall.
Maine CDC reminds residents and visitors to avoid mosquito bites and remain vigilant throughout the rest of the season. Mosquitoes may still be active when the temperature is above 50 degrees and until the second heavy frost.
The best protection against all mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquito bites. To protect yourself from mosquito bites:
- Wear long sleeves and long pants
- Use an EPA-approved repellent on skin and clothes
- Take extra precautions at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
- Use screens on windows and doors
- Drain artificial sources of standing water, where mosquitoes lay eggs
- Vaccinate horses against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and WNV