An adult in central Maryland is the state's first confirmed case of West Nile virus this year, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced on Friday, Aug. 10.
Closer to home, the virus was also found in Montgomery County by the U.S. Department of Defense, the state's health and mental hygiene department added.
The virus sample from Montgomery County was found in a mosquito pool, which is "a group of mosquitoes collected at one of several trap sites across the [state]," the health department added.
The virus "continues to threaten the health of Maryland residents," Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, state health department secretary, said in a statement. "These findings remind us that there are basic actions we can all take to reduce our risk of getting infected."
To protect oneself from the virus, the state health department advises:
- 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 mosquitoes are potentially in the air.
- Using an Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent.
Most people infected with the virus will not have any symptoms. Those who develop an illness "will usually have any combination of: fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands," generally appearing within three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, the state health department added.
"Less than one percent of persons 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, [the virus] can be fatal," the state health department reported on its website.
For more information on the virus, and for tips on maintaining your property to deter mosquitoes from visiting it, visit the state health department's website.
Visit the Environmental Protection Agency's website to learn more about insect repellants.