State’s second human case of West Nile Virus reported

DOVER — The Division of Public Health (DPH) said the state’s second human case of West Nile Virus struck a 68-year-old New Castle County man who was initially hospitalized in July and remains hospitalized due to underlying health conditions unrelated to the virus.

The virus, a mosquito-borne illness, can become serious. DPH reminds people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Earlier this month, DPH said a 60-year-old Sussex County man was the first case of WNV this year. In 2017, one case of WNV was confirmed in a Kent County woman, the first such case in two years in Delaware.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Mosquito Control Section has seen an increase of West Nile Virus found in wild birds and sentinel chickens.

Earlier this month, the Mosquito Control Section also found Delaware’s first EEE-positive sentinel chicken for 2018 in a station in Sussex County. Like West Nile Virus, Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) can adversely affect both humans and horses. EEE is more severe than West Nile, but much rarer.

Heightened concerns over possible transmission to humans from both viruses, will continue into mid-October, until cooler temperatures start to significantly slow down both mosquito and virus activity.

To assist the state’s mosquito control efforts, and to reduce mosquito-breeding habitat for mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile Virus, DNREC urges homeowners to practice good water sanitation on their property by eliminating standing water, particularly as might be collected in buckets, containers, uncovered trash cans, stagnant bird baths, old tires and unused swimming pools.

Symptoms of severe West Nile Virrus infection include headache, high fever, stiff neck, and/or tremors and muscle weakness. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. A

nyone who experiences any of these severe symptoms should seek medical help immediately. Symptoms may progress to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly death.

To report suspected cases of human West Nile Virus, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156.


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