The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County (DOH-Hillsborough) has confirmed a human case of the West Nile Virus, according to a health department news release.
The health department also reported an increase in mosquito-borne disease activity, and has announced a heightened concern that additional residents may become ill.
The Hillsborough County department of Mosquito Control and Hillsborough’s health department are continuing surveillance and prevention efforts.
The health department is reminding residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take basic precautions to help limit exposure.
Remember the key words, drain and cover, when taking action to protect yourself.
Be sure to drain standing water to prevent mosquitoes from multiplying.
Items that should be drained include: Garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
Other steps that should be taken:
- Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.
- Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
- Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
- Keep pools in good condition, and be sure they are appropriately chlorinated.
- Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
Also, protect yourself by covering your skin with clothing, or a repellent.
When in an area where mosquitoes are present, be sure to wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long sleeves.
Also, be sure to apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
Always be sure to read the label directions on the repellent to be sure you are applying a proper amount, to people in the appropriate age group, to the right places.
Keep mosquitoes out of your house by repairing broken screens on doors or windows.
For more information on what repellent is right for you, consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products.
The Florida Department of Health is continuing to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya and dengue.
Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds, via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s site.
West Nile Virus, symptoms and treatments
- Eight out of 10 people infected with West Nile virus do not develop symptoms.
- About one in five of those who are infected develop a fever with some other symptoms, such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.
• Most people with West Nile virus disease recover completely, but some can experience fatigue and weakness that can last for weeks or months.
- About one in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, which is inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
In cases of severe illness, symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
Severe illness can occur in people of any age, but those over age 60 are at a greater risk.
Also, people with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, also are at greater risk.
Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months. Some effects to the central nervous system might be permanent.
About one out of 10 people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.
See your health care provider if you develop symptoms described above. Your health care provider can order tests to look for West Nile virus infection.
There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for West Nile virus infection.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms.
In severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care.
If you think you or a family member might have West Nile virus disease, talk with your health care provider.
To learn more about treatment, visit our Healthcare Providers page.
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Published November 18, 2020