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Maryland Department of Health reports first human case of West Nile virus for 2023

Your Wednesday morning news roundup: 9/13/23
Your Wednesday morning news roundup: 9/13/23 02:05

The Maryland Department of Health reported that an adult living in the Eastern Shore region has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first confirmed human case of the virus in the state this year. 

The patient is recovering from the infection, according to health officials.

West Nile is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes infected by feeding on birds that have the virus," the health department said.

In rare instances, the virus may be spread from person to person through organ donation, blood transfusion, breastfeeding or from pregnant mother to fetus.

Health officials say West Nile affects the nervous system, and up to 80 percent of people who are infected will not display any signs of illness. 

However, those who have underlying health conditions could become seriously ill.

"We are in the season when the West Nile virus can spread in Maryland," said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman. "We urge people to be vigilant and take steps to avoid infection and eliminate standing pools of water where mosquitoes can breed. Our teams are continuing to monitor mosquito activity across the state."

West Nile virus was detected in the United States for the first time in 1999. In 2020, a single confirmed case was identified, four were identified in 2021, and a single infection was identified in 2022.

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