West Nile Virus Detected in Maryland Resident and Mosquitoes PDF Print E-mail

 BALTIMORE, MD (August 10, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) today announced that an adult in Central Maryland is the State’s first confirmed case of symptomatic West Nile virus (WNV) infection in 2012. West Nile virus was also detected in a pool of mosquitoes collected in Montgomery County by the U.S. Department of Defense. A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes collected at one of several trap sites across the State.

 

“West Nile Virus continues to threaten the health of Maryland residents," said DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. "These findings remind us that there are basic actions we can all take to reduce our risk of getting infected."

 

Measures people can take to protect themselves include:

 

  • Avoid areas of high mosquito activity

  • Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active

  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats when concerned about mosquito exposure 

  • Use an EPA-registered insect repellent according to package directions

 

Most individuals infected with West Nile virus will not have any symptoms. People that do develop illness will usually have any combination of: fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms generally appear 3 to 15 days following the bite of an infected mosquito.  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, WNV can be fatal.  Persons over 50 years of age have the highest risk of developing more severe disease. People who are immunocompromised may also be at high risk of WNV infection.

 

The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention recently released a media advisory announcing that some areas of the country have experienced greater numbers of WNV infections in humans, birds, and mosquitoes. Although Maryland is not among those states reporting increased WNV activity, the first confirmed human case in Maryland serves as an important reminder to Marylanders to take steps to prevent WNV infection.

 

The number of human WNV cases in Maryland has varied over the past several years. Seventy-three human WNV cases were reported in the peak year of 2003.  Twenty-three cases were reported in 2010, and 19 human WNV cases were identified in 2011.

 

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

  • 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 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

 

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 athttp://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/rehab.asp . Detailed instructions on what to do when you find a sick or dead bird can be found at  http://ideha.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/CZVBD/SitePages/west-nile.aspx.

 

For additional information on West Nile virus, visit:

Last Updated on Friday, 10 August 2012 14:12
 

WCHD News

Salisbury, MD. – Dorchester, Somerset, Sussex, Wicomico and Worcester counties invite 
the public to Emergency Preparedness Night on August 23rd at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
 
The Delmarva Shorebirds will play against the Asheville Tourists at 7:05 p.m.
Representatives from local health departments, emergency management agencies, and 
volunteer organizations will host exhibit booths promoting emergency preparedness 
before and during the baseball game. 
 
Come out to the ballpark to support the Shorebirds and learn how you can be better 
prepared for life’s curve balls. 
 
The event is co-sponsored by the health departments and emergency management offices 
of Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties, Ocean City and the Maryland
and Delaware Offices of Emergency Management. 
 
Snow Hill, Maryland- August 1, 2014.  Get fit, lose weight, and improve your health with certified lifestyle coaches through group sessions beginning August 25th in Snow Hill.  The Lifestyle Balance Program is a year-long, healthy eating, physical activity, and weight loss program that has been proven effective in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, assisting in weight loss and maintenance of a healthy body weight, and decreasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.  
Read more...
 
Baltimore, MD (August 11, 2014) --State and local officials have been working since last year to prepare Maryland parents and schools for new school immunization requirements for students entering kindergarten and 7th grade this fall.  All kindergartners must have had two chickenpox (varicella) vaccinations.  All 7th graders must receive a pertussis booster (Tdap) and dose of meningitis vaccines.  School officials and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) are urging parents to make sure their child is appropriately immunized against these diseases prior to the start of school.  Children may be excluded from school if they do not have these vaccinations.
“We have spent the past year helping parents and schools prepare for these school immunization requirements,"  said Dr. Laura Herrera, Deputy Secretary for DHMH Public Health Services.  "We want to be sure all Maryland children start the school year with up-to-date vaccinations and are ready to learn.”
Immunizations are one of public health’s greatest triumphs.  With the exception of safe water, no other health strategy-- not even the creation of antibiotics--has had such a tremendous effect on reducing disease.  Despite the availability of safe and effective immunizations, thousands of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases occur in the United States every year.  Consider the following facts about varicella, pertussis and meningitis: 
 
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that can be spread before a person knows they have the disease.
Chickenpox can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and brain damage.
One out of five people who get meningococcal meningitis experience serious complications, such as the loss of limb(s), permanent hearing loss, or mental impairment.
In recent years, adolescents (11-18 yrs) and adults (19 yrs and older) have accounted for an increasing proportion of pertussis cases. 
Infants who are at highest risk for complications and death due to pertussis are often infected by older siblings, parents or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.
 
In preparation for the new requirements, local health departments are holding special back-to-school clinics throughout the state.  Parents should call their doctor or local health department to learn if their child needs any of the school-required vaccinations and make arrangements to receive the missing vaccines so their child will not be excluded from school.
 


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