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What to know about West Nile Virus after mosquitoes positive in Anne Arundel

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Posted at 9:59 PM, Jul 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-24 23:17:18-04

ANNE ARUNDEL CO., Md. — Last week, officials in Anne Arundel County announced they'd detected West Nile Virus in a few mosquitoes. There are no confirmed human cases.

To keep it that way, officials there are recommending a few things.

"We want to make sure people dump standing water; if you go outside, you wear long sleeves, you can wear insect repellent that has DEET in it," advised Jen Schneider, director of the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Management with the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Health.

Schneider explained that infected mosquitoes get that way from biting infected birds and, sometimes, horses. They transmit the disease through their bites.

Symptoms, Schneider added, arise in about 20 percent of people. They include fever, headache, nausea, and joint and muscle aches.

"People kind of, I think, think of mosquitoes as annoying," Schneider added. "They swat them away, they mess up their picnics or baseball games. But they really do carry diseases, and we want to make people aware."

Other good practices: keep swimming pools chlorinated and filtered, put fish in backyard ponds to eat mosquito larva, and if you are sleeping outdoors, consider using mosquito netting.

Officials with the Maryland Department of Agriculture advised residents they'd spray a solution in the affected areas, near Crain Highway and Davidsonville Road, last Sunday night in Crofton.

READ MORE: Mosquitoes in two parts of AACO test positive for West Nile Virus

Doctor Andrew Pekosz is a virologist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He says most people bitten won't get symptoms, but a small percentage will get a fever and muscle aches.

An even smaller percentage, Pekosz explained, get severe disease, and they generally trend older.

"It's the kind of disease that we have no vaccines for, we have no treatments for, so the best thing is really prevention and mosquito control," said Dr. Pekosz.