The Monroe County Department of Public Health announced its first human case of West Nile virus for 2018, and indicated the county is entering a period when risk will increase and continue until the first heavy frost.
The state has reported one other human WNV case this year.
“Late summer and early fall is the point when the risk of West Nile to humans is highest, so it is particularly important now for residents to take steps to reduce mosquito bites by covering exposed skin when mosquitoes are active and use insect repellent,” said Michael Mendoza, commissioner of public health. “We want residents to enjoy our beautiful weather, but do so with an eye toward prevention.”
Preventative measures to reduce the risk of WNV include minimizing outdoor activity at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to cover exposed skin, when practical; using insect repellent that contains DEET; draining standing water on property and emptying containers that can hold water to reduce mosquito breeding areas; and ensuring windows have screens that are in good condition.
Those using insect repellent with DEET should follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wash it off once inside for the evening.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 1 percent of mosquitoes carry WNV. The majority of people bitten by an infected mosquito will have no symptoms, about 20 percent will have mild flu-like symptoms and less than 1 percent will become seriously ill.
People ages 50 and older, as well as those with chronic illness, are at the highest risk for serious illness from WNV. Although there is no vaccine or specific treatment for WNV, people are encouraged to consult a physician if they develop symptoms such as high fever and headache.