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West Nile virus case reported in Hillsborough

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 01:54 AM
TAMPA -

A 60-year-old Hillsborough man was recovering from West Nile virus, the county's first reported case of the mosquito-borne illness this year, health officials said.

The man was likely infected the first week of August, the county health department said in a news release. It's the first case reported in Hillsborough since September 2004.

The nation is going through what is expected to be its worst outbreak of the disease ever, the Centers for Disease Control said. About 1,600 cases of West Nile have been reported, resulting in 65 deaths.

Cases have been reported to the CDC in 48 states, but more than 70 percent have been in six states: Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Michigan.

The most common source of infection in humans is from mosquito bites.

Due to the rise in mosquito population in recent months, the department has been advising that the public take precautions to prevent the virus' spread.

"Since local physicians are on the lookout for these illnesses it won't be surprising if more cases are identified," said Douglas Holt, director of the county health department.

It takes two to 15 days for a person to develop symptoms after being bitten. West Nile is not transmitted human to human.

Symptoms of West Nile may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. Physicians should contact their county health department to arrange testing if they suspect an individual may meet the case definition for a mosquito-borne illness.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile. Most mild infections are typically overcome with little or no medical intervention within a matter of weeks. There is no human vaccine.

The county issued an advisory for people to take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes, including removing standing water, where mosquitoes multiply.

"We again ask that people drain standing water and cover their skin or use repellant when outside," Holt said.

Residents are asked to discard items where water accumulates, including tires, bottles, cans, pots, broken appliances.

Birdbaths and pet water bowls should be cleaned at least once or twice a week. Maintain swimming pool chemistry and empty unused plastic pools.

People should cover skin with clothing and use mosquito repellent.

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