Maryland Sees First Confirmed Human Case of West Nile Virus in 2015

Residents are reminded to take precautions to reduce risk during summer, fall
 
Baltimore, MD (August 18, 2015) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) today is announcing the first confirmed and locally acquired case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Maryland this year. The infected individual is an adult who lives in the Baltimore Metropolitan region. In addition, WNV also has been detected in mosquito pools collected in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes collected at one of several trap sites across the state.
 
“A case of WNV is expected around this time of year," said DHMH Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services Dr. Howard Haft. "Marylanders are reminded that they can take simple steps to reduce the risk of getting infected." Those protective measures include:
 
  • Avoiding areas of high mosquito activity.
  • Avoiding unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats, when concerned about mosquitoes.
  • Using an EPA-registered insect repellent according to package directions.
 
Most individuals infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. People that do develop illness usually will have any combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms generally appear two to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. Fewer than one percent of people exposed to the virus will develop more severe infections, with symptoms such as headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
 
In rare instances, WNV can be fatal. Persons older than 60 have the greatest risk of developing severe disease. People with compromised immune systems also may be at high risk of WNV 
infection.
 
Residents are urged to monitor their own yards and gardens for standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in a discarded can or container will support dozens of mosquitoes. To eliminate mosquito-breeding areas:
 
  • Clean rain gutters to allow water to flow freely.
  • Empty or screen corrugated drain pipes.  
  • Remove old tires or drill drainage holes in tires used as playground equipment.
  • Turn over wading pools, wheelbarrows, wagons and carts when not in use. Flush water from the bottom of plant holders twice a week.
  • Replace water in birdbaths at least twice a week.
  • Turn garbage can lids upside down and make sure trash receptacles are empty of water.
  • Fix dripping faucets.
  • Aerate ornamental pools and water gardens or stock with fish and use a circulating filter system.
 
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will spray all communities within a one-mile radius of where the person resides and will continue routine spray operations in all other participating communities throughout the state. 
 
Although birds are not routinely tested for WNV in Maryland, sick or injured birds can be reported to an appropriate local wildlife rehabilitator. Residents can call 1-877-463-6497 for a list of licensed rehabilitators or visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources web site at http://goo.gl/CvgW0W. Detailed instructions on what to do when you find a sick or dead bird can be found at http://goo.gl/Wgg6gg.   
 
The number of human WNV cases in Maryland has varied in time. The peak years of human activity occurred in 2003 and 2012, with 73 and 47 WNV cases reported statewide, respectively. In 2014, by comparison, there were six human cases of WNV infection in Maryland.
 
DHMH provides weekly updates of WNV detected in humans, mosquitoes and horses in Maryland on its website. For each case, DHMH indicates whether the infected individual is a child or an adult and the region of the state where the individual resides. The case announced today will be reflected in the report posted on Wednesday, August 19. The reports will be available each Wednesday at http://goo.gl/adHARJ.
 
For additional information on West Nile virus, visit DHMH at http://goo.gl/adHARJ, MDA at http://goo.gl/WYrDWJ and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile.    
 
 

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WCHD News

Fall into fitness this October and participate in the 6th Annual Making Strides for Awareness Fun Walk to be held at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3 at Byrd Park in Snow Hill, Market Street. This is a free event co-sponsored by the Worcester County Health Department and the Town of Snow Hill. The first 50 registrants will receive a HOPE stadium cup. Registration begins at 5pm. Participants will have the opportunity to complete a ½ mile, 1-mile, or 2-mile walk.

Click the image below to register for this free event. 

Public Health Officials Offer Food Safety Tips in Preparation of Potential Power Outages and Flooding Due to Hurricane Florence

(Salisbury, MD) - As Hurricane Florence begins to make way across the Eastern seaboard, health officials of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties recommend the following food safety tips for residents to help them prepare now, should local power outages or flooding occur.

• Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. For more information on generator safety, visit here.

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Celebrate life and help raise awareness about suicide prevention on the Boardwalk this September with the Out of the Darkness Community Walk. On Saturday, September 22, hundreds of walkers from Maryland and across the country will gather in Ocean City to memorialize the victims of suicide, offer support to friends and family, and to raise funds for suicide awareness and mental health first aid through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This year, the Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) will also host the second annual “Celebration of Life” event the night before the walk, to memorialize friends and family lost to suicide.                                                                                                                                                      

Walk Date: 09/22/2018
Walk Location: Caroline Street and Ocean City Boardwalk - Ocean City, MD
Check-in/Registration Time: 9:00 am
Walk Begins: 10:30 am
Walk Ends: 12:00 pm

Click the image below to learn more or call 410-632-3366

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Residents who may have had contact should call the health department immediately


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Ocean City, MD- Take a deep breath, Worcester County; this month Maryland celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Clean Indoor Air Act. Maryland’s Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in all indoor workplaces, including restaurants, bars, and clubs, to preserve and improve the health, comfort, and environment of residents by eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke.

For more information on the Clean Indoor Air Act, click here

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