Prevent West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Risk

Snow Hill, Md. (August 28, 2013) – The Wicomico and Worcester County Health Departments received updated test results from the State of Maryland that a mosquito pool in southern Worcester County tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).  In Wicomico County, there was one pool that tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), one pool that tested positive for EEE, and an additional pool tested positive for both.  The pools were sampled in remote, low lying areas of the counties, usually known to have standing water year round. This is in addition to the single sample of mosquitoes from Ocean Pines that tested positive for WNV last week.  

West Nile Virus is most common during the summer and fall months and the number of infections usually peaks in mid-August. The virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and spread to humans, birds, horses and other animals. Since mosquitoes can breed in as little as a quarter inch of water, the recent rain may attract more mosquitoes.  Many factors impact when and where outbreaks occur, such as weather, numbers of mosquitoes that spread the virus, and human behavior.
 
The Wicomico and Worcester County Health Departments provide the following tips to help prevent contact with mosquitoes and reduce risk of infection by the West Nile virus and EEE:
 
  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  • Use an EPA-registered insect repellent and follow package instructions.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites.
    • Remove all discarded tires from property.
    • Dispose of water-holding containers.
    • Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly.
    • Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out.
    • Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they are not in use.
 
Most people infected with West Nile virus will show no symptoms; however, some people may have mild to severe symptoms that may include swollen lymph glands, a rash, fever, headache, disorientation and others. The easiest and best way to avoid this virus is to prevent mosquito bites.
 
Signs and symptoms of Eastern Equine Encephalitis include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions, and coma. There are no medications to treat, or vaccines to prevent, EEE virus infection.  People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks.  In more severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care. Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact a health care provider
 
For more tips and information about West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, please visit our websites at http://worcesterhealth.org or http://wicomicohealth.org.
 
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WCHD News

(Snow Hill, MD)- Worcester County Emergency Service officials urge residents to exercise extreme caution and check on elderly and infirm neighbors during the heatwave forecasted to last through Sunday. Heat indexes for the shore are expected to rise above 100 degrees this week and exposure to extreme heat can be dangerous for humans and animals, even deadly.

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Extreme Heat often results in the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. In most of the United States, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to death by overworking the human body. Remember that:

Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.

Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.

Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

IF YOU ARE UNDER AN EXTREME HEAT WARNING:

  • Find air conditioning.
  • Avoid strenuous activities.
  • Watch for heat illness.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Check on family members and neighbors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car.

Learn more tips for staying cool and safe during extreme heat by clicking the image below

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The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.

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The Worcester County Health Department will host a free, week-long health and wellness camp for youth age 12-17 this summer. From June 17-21, campers will learn about the importance of health, fitness, setting personal goals and much more. The summer camp is part of Worcester Health’s Promoting Health Among Teens program and will feature guest speakers, snacks and lunch, learning activities and field trips to locations around Worcester including the Jolly Roger amusement park in Ocean City.

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