First human case of West Nile virus in Maryland discovered in the Eastern Shore

The first human case of the West Nile virus in Maryland has been discovered, state health officials announced on Wednesday.

According to the Maryland Department of Health, an adult from the Eastern Shore region tested positive for the virus. The person is currently receiving treatment and is recovering from the infection.

The virus is usually transmitted from mosquitoes that feed on infected birds but can also spread “through organ donation, blood transfusion, breastfeeding or from pregnant mother to fetus,” officials said in a release. While most do not develop symptoms, the disease can attack the nervous system, causing those infected to develop a fever, rash, body aches or vomiting.

It is not the first trace of the West Nile Virus in Maryland this year. In July, mosquitoes carrying the virus were found in two parts of Anne Arundel County. State officials reported last year an adult in the Baltimore metropolitan area tested positive for the virus.

The virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.

Just because summer is winding down, doesn’t mean mosquitoes are going away any time soon.

Health officials recommend getting rid of standing pools of water and cover up exposed skin and use an insect repellent with DEET.

“We are in the season when the West Nile virus can spread in Maryland,” Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, Maryland’s deputy secretary for public health services, wrote in a statement. “We urge people to be vigilant and take steps to avoid infection and eliminate standing pools of water where mosquitoes can breed. Our teams are continuing to monitor mosquito activity across the state.”

For more information on West Nile virus, visit the CDC’s website.

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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