A Walton County resident is the state’s first confirmed West Nile case this year, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The DOH urges Floridians and visitors to protect themselves against the mosquito-borne virus, which causes mild to severe illness, adding that there have been 38 other states with confirmed cases this year.
“I encourage Floridians and visitors to take steps to prevent mosquito bites that can lead to illness,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong said in a press release. “Stay safe by draining any standing water near or in your home, making sure that screens are intact, and keeping your skin covered with clothing and mosquito repellent.”
Around 80 percent of those with West Nile virus infections have no symptoms. In those people who develop them, most experience a mild illness with conditions like headache, fever, pain and fatigue. These typically appear between two and 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
People 50 and older and individuals with weakened immune systems, especially transplant recipients and HIV-infected individuals, seem to be at increased risk for severe disease, according to a DOH press release. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus, and most mild infections are typically overcome with little or no medical intervention within a matter of weeks. Those experiencing severe side effects should seek medical attention immediately.
The department continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern Equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, Malaria and Dengue. Residents are encouraged to report dead birds to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website at www.myfwc.com/bird
For more information, visit www.floridahealth.gov.