First West Nile Virus Case in Del. Since 2013 Reported in Sussex - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

First West Nile Virus Case in Del. Since 2013 Reported in Sussex Co.

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DOVER, Del. – West Nile Virus has landed in Delaware.

The Division of Public Health says a six-year-old Sussex County girl has been diagnosed with Delaware's first reported case of the virus since 2013. According to health officials, she was hospitalized briefly and is now recovering at home.

WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes, typically from spring to fall, and can become serious. However, DPH says fewer than 20 percent of those infected with the virus develop West Nile fever, with mild symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands.

According to DPH, one in 150 people infected with the virus develops a severe infection, such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis. Severe symptoms include headache, high fever, stiff neck and/or tremors and muscle weakness. Anyone who experiences any of these severe symptoms should seek medical help immediately. In some cases, these symptoms may lead to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly death.

"This new human case is a reminder that West Nile virus is still active in Delaware," said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "It's tempting with the distractions of summer fun to forget to protect you and your loved ones from insect bites. These bites can cause much more serious health problems than just itching and discomfort.”

Mosquitoes can also carry Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and several other diseases that cause brain inflammation (encephalitis) and can be fatal to humans and animals. In Delaware, there were no reported cases of WNV in humans last year, three in 2013, and nine in 2012 with one fatality.

To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156.

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