September 28, 2004
Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department announced on Tuesday, September 28, that the state laboratory in Raleigh has confirmed the first Mecklenburg County case of West Nile virus infection. The patient, a male in his 40's, is recovering at home.
Two other North Carolina residents have been diagnosed with West Nile infections so far this year. Human West Nile infections have been reported in 39 states and Washington, D.C. this year. In 2003, two of the 24 North Carolina residents infected with West Nile died as a result of their illnesses.
Most humans and animals that are infected with West Nile virus will not have any symptoms. About 20% of the people who have the virus will develop West Nile fever. The symptoms of West Nile fever are also fairly mild. These include fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen glands. These symptoms usually last only for a few days and do not have any long-term health effects.
News of this most recent human case is a reminder that West Nile infection is still a risk says Dr. Stephen Keener, medical director of the Mecklenburg County Health Department. "Older people and especially those with compromised immune systems need to be particularly careful to prevent mosquito bites," reminds Keener.
The best protection from West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis or other mosquito-borne diseases continues to be protecting yourself from mosquito bites.
Protect yourself from mosquitoes:
- Stay inside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use repellants containing DEET and follow directions closely.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active.
- Eliminate standing water sources that may be potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
For questions or complaints about mosquitoes, Mecklenburg County residents may call the Health Department's Public Health Pest Management Program at 704-336-5101 or visit our
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