State officials: First human case of West Nile virus this year confirmed in Baltimore
BALTIMORE, MD (WEAA) — The Maryland Department of Health confirms an adult living in Baltimore has tested positive for the West Nile virus.
Officials say this is the first human case of the virus in Maryland this year.
“This is the season when we start to see West Nile virus spread in Maryland, so we urge people to be vigilant and take steps to avoid infection," said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health, Dr. Jinlene Chan. "Disease surveillance teams are closely monitoring increasing numbers of infected mosquitoes that have turned up in several areas across the state."
The virus spreads to humans from mosquitos who have been infected by feeding on birds who have the virus.
Although rare, officials say it is possible for the virus to spread from person to person through organ donations, blood transfusion, breast feeding or from a pregnant mother to her fetus.
Health officials say, the disease affects the nervous system, and up to 80 percent of those infected will not display any signs of illness.
However, people with underlying health conditions could become seriously ill.
Symptoms may include: fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, swollen lymph glands.
Officials urge residents to monitor their yards for areas of high mosquito activity, especially standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for the insects.