Maryland Sees First Confirmed Human Case of West Nile Virus in 2015

Residents are reminded to take precautions to reduce risk during summer, fall
 
Baltimore, MD (August 18, 2015) – 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 
infection.
 
Residents are urged to monitor their own yards and gardens for standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in a discarded can or container will support dozens of mosquitoes. To eliminate mosquito-breeding areas:
 
  • Clean rain gutters to allow water to flow freely.
  • Empty or screen corrugated drain pipes.  
  • Remove old tires or drill drainage holes in tires used as playground equipment.
  • Turn over wading pools, wheelbarrows, wagons and carts when not in use. Flush water from the bottom of plant holders twice a week.
  • Replace water in birdbaths at least twice a week.
  • Turn garbage can lids upside down and make sure trash receptacles are empty of water.
  • Fix dripping faucets.
  • Aerate ornamental pools and water gardens or stock with fish and use a circulating filter system.
 
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will spray all communities within a one-mile radius of where the person resides and will continue routine spray operations in all other participating communities throughout the state. 
 
Although birds are not routinely tested for WNV in Maryland, sick or injured birds can be reported to an appropriate local wildlife rehabilitator. Residents can call 1-877-463-6497 for a list of licensed rehabilitators or visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources web site at http://goo.gl/CvgW0W. Detailed instructions on what to do when you find a sick or dead bird can be found at http://goo.gl/Wgg6gg.   
 
The number of human WNV cases in Maryland has varied in time. The peak years of human activity occurred in 2003 and 2012, with 73 and 47 WNV cases reported statewide, respectively. In 2014, by comparison, there were six human cases of WNV infection in Maryland.
 
DHMH provides weekly updates of WNV detected in humans, mosquitoes and horses in Maryland on its website. For each case, DHMH indicates whether the infected individual is a child or an adult and the region of the state where the individual resides. The case announced today will be reflected in the report posted on Wednesday, August 19. The reports will be available each Wednesday at http://goo.gl/adHARJ.
 
For additional information on West Nile virus, visit DHMH at http://goo.gl/adHARJ, MDA at http://goo.gl/WYrDWJ and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile.    
 
 

Substance Abuse Help

 

Zika Information

 

Rabies Information


     

WCHD News

Next Tuesday's Smoking Cessation Class in Pocomoke will be held from 9:30 am -10:30 am. Class times will return to regular hours the following Tuesday. For more information call 410-632-0056. Thank you. 

Read more ...

Due to the Memorial Day Holiday, Smoking Cessation Classes in Snow Hill for Monday, 5/27/19, are canceled. Classes will resume at the normal time and location the following Monday, 6/3/19. Call 410-632-0056 for more information.

Read more ...

 

Read more ...

Public Health Officials Offer Food Safety Tips in Preparation of Potential Power Outages and Flooding Due to Hurricane Florence

(Salisbury, MD) - As Hurricane Florence begins to make way across the Eastern seaboard, health officials of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties recommend the following food safety tips for residents to help them prepare now, should local power outages or flooding occur.

• Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. For more information on generator safety, visit here.

Read more ...

 

Snow Hill, MD- Small changes often lead to major results and Worcester County Health Department’s free Lifestyle Balance program aims to help residents eat healthy, be active and lower their risk for type 2 diabetes with easy-to-follow tips and tools. New classes begin this September at the Atlantic Club in West Ocean City.


• Classes run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday beginning September 11 and ending on January 15.

Read more ...
 Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program