BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Brunswick County Health Services has identified the first case of human West Nile Virus (WNV) infection this years as confirmed through the NCDHHS Communicable Disease branch.
The person began having symptoms Oct. 23 and is recovering at home.
A news release states Brunswick County mosquito control officials regularly monitor the mosquito species to manage mosquito populations and prevent mosquito-born illnesses, including spraying, to reduce the risk to the human and horse populations. While WNV has been identified in samples of mosquitoes in the county in the past, this is the first case involving an affected human in recent memory.
Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. While the cooler weather typically signals the end of mosquito season, the identification of WNV in a local human case makes it more imperative that residents take additional precautions.
Residents can better protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, avoiding outside activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and applying mosquito repellent.
If using repellent with DEET, make sure to follow label instructions, and keep DEET out of the eyes, mouth and nose.
If you are a horse owner, consult your veterinarian regarding proper protective vaccines for your horses and change the water in water troughs at least twice a week to discourage mosquito breeding.
Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.
Severe illness can occur in people of any age, however, people over 60 years of age are at greater risk for severe illness if they are infected (1 in 50 people). There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people.
For more information regarding mosquitoes or mosquito control activities in your area, go to brunswickcountync.gov/mosquito-control.