Charlotte, NC - August 4, 2005 - The North Carolina State Health Director announced today that a Pitt County teenager has been infected with West Nile Virus. This is the first human case in the state in 2005 and should serve as a reminder to us in Mecklenburg County to remain vigilant in our efforts to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds.
The victim, who is in her late teens, was hospitalized in late July but is now recovering at home. The virus caused meningoencephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
West Nile virus can be spread to people from the bite of an infected mosquito. It can lead to encephalitis in infected humans, horses and dogs. The elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for developing complications from West Nile. Those in these highest risk groups should take particular care to limit exposure to mosquito bites.
Although a small percentage of humans who become infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness, the Mecklenburg County Health Department urges the public to take steps to protect themselves:
- Empty standing water in old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys, etc.
- Empty and change the water often in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, etc.
- Keep swimming pools treated and circulating and rain gutters unclogged.
- Stay inside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use mosquito repellants with DEET and follow label directions closely.
- Replace your outdoors lights with yellow "bug" lights.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants when working in areas with high mosquito populations.
While the mosquito population levels in Mecklenburg County have been moderate compared to last year, August and September are the busiest months for cases of West Nile.
As the summer continues, the Mecklenburg County Health Department will continue to monitor key health and safety threats to our residents. For more information on West Nile and other health topics, check the Web site onto