West Nile virus detected in Vermont

in News/Vermont

West Nile virus Vermont

NEWPORT – On Friday, the Vermont Department of Health announced that mosquitoes in St. Albans City have tested positive for West Nile virus. The mosquitoes collected from a pool on July 29 were Culex species – the primary species responsible for spreading West Nile virus. Late summer is when the risk of human cases is highest.

“The first detection this summer is a reminder that West Nile virus is around – and Eastern Equine Encephalitis probably is too – and people should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” said Patsy Kelso, state epidemiologist for infectious disease.

Twenty-eight of 1,328 mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile virus in 2013. The Health Department confirmed one human case of a West Nile virus infection last year in a Lamoille County resident who recovered.

Symptoms of West Nile virus are often mild, but can include high fever. Approximately 1 percent of people who are infected develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system, such as encephalitis or meningitis, which can be fatal.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

• Wear long sleeves and pants and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.

• Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water, and by draining areas where water can pool such as rain gutters, wading pools, and old tires.

• Use repellents containing no more than 30 percent DEET for adults and no more than 10 percent for children age 3 and older.

• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

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