Human case of West Nile Virus confirmed in Hillsborough

3:12 PM, Aug 31, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida-- The Hillsborough County Health Department has confirmed the first human case of locally acquired West Nile Virus for 2012. 

The 60 year-old male was most likely infected the first week of August, and, according to the Health Department, is now recovering. 

The last human case of locally acquired West Nile Virus in Hillsborough was in September of 2004. 

As a result of the confirmed case, the Hillsborough County Health Department issued an advisory to the community to take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

"Unfortunately since 2001 when West Nile Virus was first detected in Florida, it has joined other viruses carried by mosquitoes that pose a risk to the public," said Hillsborough County Health Department Director Dr. Douglas Holt, MD. in a release about the incident.

"Since local physicians are on the look out for these illnesses it won't be surprising if more cases are identified," said Dr. Holt in the release. "We again ask that people drain standing water and cover their skin or use repellant when outside."

Symptoms of West Nile Virus may include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness 
  • Confusion

The Health Department advises physicians to contact their county health department to arrange testing if they suspect a patient may meet the case definition for a mosquito-borne illness.

The Health Department provided additional facts about the virus:

  • It takes from 2 to 15 days for a person to develop symptoms after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
  • West Nile Virus is not transmitted from human to human.  
  • The most common source of infection in humans is from mosquito bites.
  • There is no specific treatment for West Nile Virus. 
  • Most mild infections are typically overcome with little or no medical intervention within a matter of weeks. 
  • More severe West Nile Virus infections may be treated with retroviral drugs. 
  • There is no human vaccine currently available for West Nile Virus.

The Health Department also provided tips for protection:

  • DISCARD: Old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used
  • EMPTY and CLEAN: Birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week
  • PROTECT: Boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don't accumulate water
  • MAINTAIN: The water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
  • CLOTHING: If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.
  • REPELLENT: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective. 
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months. 
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house. 
  • Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

Click here for more information.

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