First Case Of West Nile Virus Of 2023 Confirmed In MD

By Pikesville Patch
Posted on 09/13/23 | News Source: Pikesville Patch

The state's first human case of West Nile virus this year has been confirmed on the Eastern Shore, according to the Maryland Department of Health. West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquito bites and affects the nervous system.

The Maryland Department of Health on Wednesday said an adult living in the Eastern Shore region has tested positive for West Nile virus. The patient is recovering from the infection; authorities gave no further information on where the person lives.

Up to 80 percent of people who are infected with the virus will not display any signs of illness. However, those who have underlying health conditions could become seriously ill.

“We are in the season when the West Nile virus can spread in Maryland,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman. “We urge people to be vigilant and take steps to avoid infection and eliminate standing pools of water where mosquitoes can breed. Our teams are continuing to monitor mosquito activity across the state."

West Nile virus was detected in the United States for the first time in 1999. In 2020, a single confirmed case was identified, four were identified in 2021, and a single infection was identified in 2022.

Some people who develop an illness may experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches; occasionally, a skin rash and swollen lymph glands may be noticed. These symptoms may last a few days or as long as several weeks.

People who are older than 50 or have immunocompromised conditions can become seriously ill.

Here are recommendations for avoiding exposure:

Although birds are not routinely tested for West Nile virus in Maryland, sick or injured birds can be reported to an appropriate local wildlife rehabilitator.