DNREC: First Case of West Nile Virus Detected in Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DNREC: First Case of West Nile Virus Detected in Delaware

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DOVER, Del.– The Delaware Department of Natural Resources said the state has had its first finding of the West Nile virus this year.

DNREC said an American crow collected in the suburbs of north Wilmington tested positive for the virus on Aug. 6.

“This finding of West Nile virus in Delaware serves as a good reminder for people to take common-sense precautions against mosquito bites,” said DNREC Mosquito Control Section Administrator Dr. William Meredith.

Officials say proper precaution includes wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants in mosquito-prone areas and using insect repellent.

DNREC said the current American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC recommend children older than 2 months of age use repellent with 10 to 30 percent DEET.

"We know that insect bites are not only annoying and sometimes painful, but can be dangerous as well," Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health. “It's better medicine to prevent insects from biting you at all.”

Meredith recommends people drain or remove items that collect water to help reduce mosquito-breeding.

DNREC also wants to warn people about another mosquito-borne disease. Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus, has not been detected in Delaware this year, authorities said. But, officials warn that both West Nile and EEE typically occur between the first week in August and the second week in October, so there is plenty of time left to see cases of each.

Dr. Heather Hirst, state veterinarian with the Delaware Department of Agriculture, said effective equine vaccines exist to protect horses from both WNV and EEE.

“I am urging horse owners to assist with prevention efforts by making sure their horses are vaccinated against both WNV and EEE,” Hirst said. “Initially, two doses of the vaccine are necessary for immunization. After the initial two vaccinations, a yearly booster is needed. Horse owners should consult their local veterinarian for advice on vaccination protocols. If horses have not been vaccinated or have only recently been vaccinated, owners should keep horses inside during peak mosquito times, i.e., dawn, dusk, and throughout the night.”

According to DNREC, there are no approved WNV or EEE vaccines for humans. Approximately 80 percent of human WNV infections are mild and cause no apparent symptoms. Nearly 20 percent of those infected develop a mild illness (West Nile fever), which includes fever, body and muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rash. A small percentage of patients, usually the elderly, develop severe neurological disease that results in meningitis or encephalitis.

To help determine when and where control services are needed, the Mosquito Control Section encourages residents to report intolerable numbers of biting mosquitoes by calling the numbers below.

Phones are answered between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after business hours or during weekends or holidays should leave their name, phone number, address and a brief message.

Glasgow Office, serving New Castle County and northern Kent County (including the Dover area): (302) 836-2555

Milford Office, serving Sussex and southern Kent Counties: (302) 422-1512

For more information about:

Mosquito biology/ecology and control – Contact the Mosquito Control Section's Dover office at (302) 739-9917.

WNV in humans and related medical issues – Contact the Delaware Division of Public Health at (888) 295-5156.

WNV or EEE in horses and equine vaccines – Contact the Department of Agriculture's Poultry and Animal Health Section at (302) 698-4500 or 800-282-8685 (Delaware only).

West Nile virus – visit the CDC website, www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

Chikungunya – visit the CDC website, http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/

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