The Arlington County Public Health has recorded its first reported case of West Nile virus in a human this year.
Local health officials announced the infection of a resident through a press release published on Friday, Aug. 18. The patient was not publicly identified.
Arlington County Issues Warning Against Mosquitoes
"West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito," said Dr. Reuben Varghese, Arlington County Public Health Division. "With the virus detected in mosquitoes in the region and with the recent rains contributing to more mosquito breeding, it is important for area residents to actively prevent mosquito breeding and biting or 'Fight the Bite.'"
To avoid contracting West Nile, health officials encourage the public to follow the three Ds — drain/dump standing water where mosquitoes breed, dress in long sleeves and pants, and defend selves and loved ones by using mosquito repellents.
The Arlington County Public Health also advised the public to avoid going out during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most common and active.
"Well-informed and active residents are necessary partners to combat disease carrying insects in our community," added Dr. Varghese. "Please join us in fighting the bite to better yourself, your family and our community from mosquitoes and the diseases they may transmit."
West Nile Virus: Symptoms And Treatment
West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to humans via mosquito bites. In the United States, cases occur during the summer season and might extend until fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People infected with the virus might exhibit fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes. More serious, but rare symptoms include encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
Symptoms of severe cases include high fever, headache, stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation, vision loss, tremors, convulsion, coma, numbness, and paralysis.
Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine to avoid the virus or a specific antiviral treatment available. Rather, those who are infected can take over-the-counter medicine to alleviate symptoms. Most people infected (about 8 out of 10) do not experience symptoms.
West Nile In The US
There have also been recorded infections in mosquitoes, birds, and other animals in 38 states as of Aug. 7.