Fairfax Co. reports 1st human case of West Nile virus amid ‘surge’ in infected mosquitoes

WASHINGTON — Health officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, have confirmed the first case of West Nile virus in a county resident this year.

The person, who was hospitalized and is now recovering, is an adult resident of the northeastern part of the county, the county health department said in a news release.

The case comes amid what the health department called a “surge” in mosquitoes infected with the virus across the county. The increase in mosquitoes they’ve identified as being infected with West Nile has come earlier this year than in past years.

Prince George’s County announced its first human case of the virus on Wednesday. There were no reported cases of West Nile in the county last year.

Public health officials across the region have been warning about the risks of West Nile, especially after the unusually rainy July weather.

Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, director of epidemiology and population health with the Fairfax County Health Department said people should use mosquito repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, R3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus; wear long pants and long sleeves, and avoid areas where mosquitoes are common, particularly during dawn and dusk.

You should also take steps to reduce standing water where mosquitoes breed.

In Fairfax County, you can request the health department conduct a mosquito inspection of your yard by calling (703) 246-8931.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Severe cases can lead to more serious illnesses, such as encephalitis and paralysis, and in some cases it can be fatal.

Those most at risk for serious complications are people older than 50 and people with suppressed immune systems.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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