Fairfax County Reports First Probable Human Case of West Nile Virus


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12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
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Oct. 9, 2003

 

Fairfax County Reports First Probable Human Case of West Nile Virus

 

The Fairfax County Health Department today announced the county’s first probable human case of West Nile virus this year. The 41-year-old patient was not hospitalized and is recovering. Laboratory samples will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for confirmation. Confirmatory results may take several weeks. Last year, Fairfax County reported 13 human cases of the virus with one resulting death.

Humans contract West Nile virus most often from the bite of an infected mosquito; but most people bitten by infected mosquitoes do not get sick. Those who do get sick from West Nile virus usually suffer a mild flu-like illness and recover without treatment. In few people, most often senior adults, West Nile virus can cause serious illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. Only supportive treatment is available for more serious cases.

“This serves as an important reminder that West Nile virus is still active in Fairfax County,” said Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H., director of health, Fairfax County Health Department. “It is vitally important for people to eliminate mosquito breeding areas around their homes and protect themselves against mosquito bites.” The Fairfax County Health Department recommends the following tips to reduce exposure to mosquitoes:
• Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing outdoors.
• Use insect repellent products with no more than 30 percent DEET (except on infants age 2 months and younger). Follow label instructions when using insect repellents.
• Turn over or remove containers in your yard such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys where water collects.
• Eliminate standing water on tarps or flat roofs.
• Clean out birdbaths and wading pools once a week.
• Clean roof gutters and downspout screens regularly.

To combat West Nile virus, the Fairfax County Health Department has launched a public education campaign – “Fight the Bite” – and conducts activities to control mosquito populations in the county.

For more information on West Nile virus, visit Fairfax County’s “Fight the Bite” Web page at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/service/hd/westnile or the Virginia Department of Health’s Web site at www.vdh.state.va.us or call the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-246-2435, TTY 711.

 

 

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