1st 2016 West Nile Md. case confirmed

WASHINGTON — A Maryland resident is this year’s first confirmed case of the West Nile Virus in the state, according to the Baltimore Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The adult patient, a western Maryland resident, survived the infection, the DHMH said in a release Monday.

The virus has been detected in mosquitoes trapped in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. A related virus called Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been traced to mosquitoes on the Eastern Shore.

The West Nile Virus, not to be confused with the Zika virus, is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause fever, head and body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

Though most infected individuals do not exhibit symptoms, the virus can be fatal in rare cases. People over 60 years of age or with weak immune systems are said to have the greatest risk of infection.

Officials recommend avoiding bug-infested areas, covering up and using EPA-registered insect repellent to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.

They advise eliminating mosquito-breeding grounds in residential areas as well. Standing water is especially attractive for these insects, so maintaining a dry environment is key.

There were 46 statewide cases of West Nile Virus infection in 2015, nearly topping the 2012 peak of 47 reported cases. A record 73 cases were reported in 2003.

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