Concerns over West Nile Virus in Laurel

Posted at 8:58 AM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 08:58:16-04

Ninety-four year old Dorothy Mount passed away in early September. Her children say it was the West Nile virus that killed her.  Though the case isn't confirmed, the city she lived in is responding.

An abundance of caution will have crews spraying for mosquitos in Laurel on Sunday, September 20.

Mount's death remains an unconfirmed case of West Nile since there is no official cause of death for Mount and no testing has been done in the area.

Even so, the Maryland Department of Agriculture will spray in Laurel for the eighth time this season. Two of the previous sprayings were done in Mount's neighborhood.

"We aren't sure that she contracted it here but we want to take the precautions to protect the public," Donna Crary, President Protem of Laurel City Council, said Thursday.

State health officials say Maryland's only confirmed case of West Nile this year is a Baltimore County man who also died last week, though they say it wasn't the mosquito born virus that killed him.

Marty Flemion, Director of emergency services in Laurel, said they are putting out as much information to people in the city and the surrounding areas.

"They need to concern themselves with the mosquito threat, not just in the evenings or at night, it's all day long now with the advent of the Asian Tiger Mosquito. That's a daytime mosquito.

He said to aware when working or spending time in your yards or on campgrounds and try to cover up as much as possible and use insect repellant.

Flemion called it something certainly to be aware of but also offered some perspective...

"I live in the same neighborhood that Ms. Mounts from and I'm not concerned. ... The issues as far as West Nile, the fatalities involved, it all depends on age number one and your health and how soon you identify the symptoms and get something done about it," Flemion explained.

West Nile Virus symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, fatigue and back pain.

The insecticide the MDA uses is not harmful to people, pets or ponds and streams.