Monday, June 17, 2024

West Nile Virus detected in greater Wilmington area

The county has not released where the mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile were located. Mosquitoes contract the virus from birds it feeds on and then passes on to humans via a bite. (Courtesy Pexels)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — County officials have warned the public about clearing standing water around their homes as the West Nile Virus has been detected in the greater Wilmington area.

The county’s Public Health Vector Control division monitors mosquito activity and treats mosquito-breeding site. It also keeps a watch on mosquito volumes, species, and tests for diseases through NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).

The county has not released where the mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile are located. Mosquitoes contract the virus from birds it feeds on and then passes it on to humans via a bite.

“The most important thing we can do is eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by dumping standing water around your homes as often as possible,” Public Health Director Jon Campbell said in a release. “It only takes a very small amount of water to create a habitat where mosquitos can breed.”

The county suggests removing water from flowerpots, buckets, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths at least twice a week, and also clearing gutters and pool coverings.

Individuals should use EPA-approved insect repellent to avoid bites or wear clothing that properly covers extremities. Also limiting outdoor activity during times the bugs are most prevalent — at dawn and dusk — is recommended.

There is not a vaccine or medications available to treat West Nile in patients, though Campbell added in the release it’s no reason to panic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of individuals that contract West Nile won’t have symptoms. The other 20 percent may experience mild symptoms — fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach or back — which can last several weeks.

Severe symptoms, which also may last several weeks, include: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. If experiencing severe symptoms, it’s important to seek medical treatment, as neurological effects could become permanent.

According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 150 West Nile Virus cases result in severe symptoms.


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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