None report symptoms.
Four people in Delaware have tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to a Sept. 1 news release from the Division of Public Health.
Three cases in New Castle County and one in Kent County were reported in mid-late August. No one reported symptoms.
In Delaware, there were no reported human cases in 2014, three in 2013, and nine in 2012 with one fatality.
The virus was found as part of bloodwork related to a routine medical procedure. The mosquito-borne illness can become serious and DPH reminds people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
About West Nile
The sickness is transmitted by mosquitoes, generally from spring to fall. Nearly 80 percent of people infected will not become ill.
About 20 percent will develop West Nile fever with mild symptoms (fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands).
One in 150 people will develop severe infection called West Nile encephalitis or meningitis.
Symptoms of severe WNV infection include headache, high fever, stiff neck, and/or tremors and muscle weakness. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Anyone who experiences any of these severe symptoms should seek medical help immediately. Symptoms may progress to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis, and possibly death.
DPH Division Director Dr. Karyl Rattay reminds people to protect themselves and their families during mosquito season, which can last until the first hard frost. To report a suspected case, call the Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156.
Mosquitoes also can also carry several other diseases that can make people very sick. To avoid mosquito bites and reduce the risk of infection, individuals should:
• Outside, wear shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Mosquito netting can protect one’s face and neck, and infants in carriages, strollers, and playpens. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and during the early-morning hours.
• Mosquito repellents containing DEET can be applied to the skin, but will last only a few hours before reapplication is necessary. Use insect repellent containing less than 50 percent DEET for adults. The current American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using 10 percent to 30 percent DEET for children older than 2 months old. The higher the strength, the longer the DEET provides protection which varies from two to five hours.
Read labels carefully and always follow the instructions. DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months.
• Prevent mosquitoes from entering the house by using screens and keeping windows and doorways tightly sealed. Mosquitoes prefer shallow water and tall vegetation. Eliminate standing water in your yard by changing birdbath water weekly, regularly draining pet dishes and plant pot saucers, and checking gutters, pool covers, and tarps for standing water. Store buckets, wheelbarrows, and wading pools upside down. Keep grass mowed.
To report high numbers of biting mosquitoes or other concerns, contact a Mosquito Control Section field office:
Glasgow Office (upstate) - 302-836-2555, for all of New Castle County and the northern Kent County, including Dover.
Milford Office (downstate) - 302-422-1512, for Kent County south of Dover, and all of Sussex County.
Calls will be answered by staff from Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Callers after business hours or during weekends or holidays should leave a message giving their name, phone number, address and a brief description of their need or problem.
For DNREC Mosquito Control, call 302-739-9917 or visit dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Services/Pages/MosquitoSection.aspx.
For more information about WNV in horses, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture at 302-698-4500 or 800-282-8685 (Delaware only).
For more general information on WNV, visit cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.
For more information about mosquito bites and other diseases they may cause visit www.cdc.gov/Features/stopmosquitoes/index.html.