The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) today is announcing the first confirmed and locally acquired case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Maryland this year. The infected individual is an adult who lives in the Baltimore Metropolitan region. In addition, WNV also has been detected in mosquito pools collected in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes collected at one of several trap sites across the state.
“A case of WNV is expected around this time of year,” said DHMH Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services Dr. Howard Haft. “Marylanders are reminded that they can take simple steps to reduce the risk of getting infected.” Those protective measures include:
Avoiding areas of high mosquito activity.
Avoiding unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats, when concerned about mosquitoes.
Using an EPA-registered insect repellent according to package directions.
Most individuals infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. People that do develop illness usually will have any combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms generally appear two to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. Fewer than one percent of people exposed to the virus will develop more severe infections, with symptoms such as headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
In rare instances, WNV can be fatal. Persons older than 60 have the greatest risk of developing severe disease. People with compromised immune systems also may be at high risk of WNV