A Central Maryland resident is the state’s first confirmed case of symptomatic West Nile virus in 2012, according to a Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene press release. The U.S. Department of Defense also detected West Nile virus in a mosquito pool — a group of mosquitoes collected at one of several trap sites statewide — in Montgomery County, according to the release.
In the release, Joshua M. Sharfstein, DHMH secretary, said the virus continues to pose a threat to Maryland residents.
DHMH advises avoiding areas of high mosquito activity, particularly at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
Although people infected with West Nile virus generally will not display any symptoms, some individuals can develop fever, headache, body aches, skin rash or swollen lymph glands three to 15 days following the bite of an infected mosquito, according to the release.
Less than 1 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, according to the release. Those older than 50 or whose immune systems are compromised are at the greatest risk of infection.
Nineteen human West Nile virus cases were identified in 2011, and 73 human West Nile virus cases were reported in the peak year of 2003, according to the release.