West Nile Virus Confirmed in Baltimore Metro Area
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health issued a community health alert on Monday, warning citizens of several confirmed human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in the Baltimore metropolitan area. These are the first confirmed cases of WNV in Maryland in 2013. The Department of Health reminds county residents to take precautions to protect their families from mosquito bites in order to help prevent West Nile virus
According to the media release, most individuals infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. People that do develop illness will usually have any combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms generally appear three to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. Less than one percent of persons exposed to the virus will develop more severe infections with symptoms such as headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. In rare instances, WNV can be fatal. Persons over 50 years of age have the highest risk of developing the more severe disease. People who are immunocompromised may also be at high risk of WNV infection.
For protection against mosquito bites, avoid unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. When outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeved clothing. Spray arms and legs with an EPA-registered insect repellent.
Residents are urged to monitor their own yards and gardens for standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in a discarded can or container will support dozens of mosquitoes.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Mosquito Control Program (410-841-5870) provides surveillance, larvicide application and mosquito spraying services in Anne Arundel County. MDA maintains a wait list for new communities requesting to participate in the mosquito spraying program.
The Department of Health (410-222-7364) responds to complaints of the Property Maintenance Code, which are limited to: the collection of stagnant water on residential swimming pool covers due to improper maintenance during the winter season; stagnant or non-circulated water in residential swimming pools or ponds due to improper maintenance; collection of trash or debris on a property; storage of usable materials on a property; and collection of rainwater on a property due to improper design or drainage of drains, gutters, downspouts and sump pumps.
For more information on mosquito control and West Nile virus, visit www.aahealth.org.
Dead bird collection was discontinued in Maryland in 2003. To dispose of a dead bird, avoid bare-handed contact. Use gloves or an inverted plastic bag to place the bird carcass in a garbage bag and dispose of it with your routine trash.
Sick or injured birds can be reported to a local wildlife rehabilitator. Call 1-877-463-6497 for a list of licensed rehabilitators or visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/rehab.asp.