From the Harford County Health Department:
Recently, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (MD DHMH) announced the first confirmed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Maryland this year. The Harford County Health Department reminds the public that despite the coming calendar end to summer, mosquitoes are expected to stay active well into the early fall, especially if warmer weather continues.
West Nile virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. In a release last month, the Harford County Health Department recommended taking measures to prevent infection and reduce risk of WNV and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms that may last a few days or as long as several weeks. Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness with symptoms such as high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and effects on the nervous system may be permanent.
“Prevention is key,” states Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly. “In addition to personal protection, prevention requires attention to your surroundings. Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in outdoor areas where they work or play by draining any sources of standing water, even small ones, where mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.” Specifically, she recommends:
• At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, cans, or from any other place where you find standing water.
• Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out if necessary.
• Look for containers with standing water in hard to see places, and keep them empty.
• Fix dripping faucets.
• Aerate ornamental pools and water gardens or stock with fish and use a circulating filter system
• Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
For more information on the West Nile virus, visit Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com, contact the Health Department at 410-612-1781, visit the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene at http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/CZVBD/SitePages/west-nile.aspx, or the National Centers for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.