Maryland’s health department reported the state’s first confirmed case of West Nile virus of 2014 and offered pointers to residents for avoiding the mosquito-borne illness.
The state’s survey period for West Nile virus lasts from July 1 to Oct. 31. Last year, the first three cases of the year were reported by mid-August. By the end of the year, 16 people had been infected.
In 2012, Maryland hit a nine-year high of 47 cases.
According to the state department of health, most people infected with the virus do not become sick. Those who do grow ill exhibit symptoms including fever, achiness, rash and swollen glands within two days to two weeks of being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Less than 1 percent of people who are infected suffer more serious consequences, including paralysis, coma and death, the health department said.
The health department has detected the virus in mosquitos trapped in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties as well as two other Maryland counties this summer. One horse infection has been reported as well.
Both the person and the horse infected by the virus live in the National Capital Region.
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, the health department asks residents to avoid creating places where water can stand, like old tires, wading pools, wagons, garbage can lids and bird baths. Residents can also protect themselves from West Nile virus by wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent and limiting time outdoors at dawn and dusk.