West Nile virus detected in mosquitoes in Maryland

According to Bell, West Nile Virus is a disease of birds transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitioes become infected after feeding on infected birds.

Officials say West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Prince George's County, the first positive test for the virus this year.

Officials with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) confirm West Nile was found in mosquitoes in Bowie, Maryland on Aug. 5.

According to a press release, the positive West Nile virus mosquito pool is the first one found in Maryland this year. Officials say they sprayed that section of Bowie the night after trapping the mosquitoes.

"We know that West Nile virus may be present throughout Maryland. It typically appears at this time in the summer, so we are not surprised with this positive finding," said Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder in the press release. "The confirmation of virus-positive mosquitoes serves as a reminder to all residents to continue protecting themselves against mosquito bites and to conduct backyard mosquito control activities in addition to MDA's routine surveillance and spray activities."

MDA suggests that residents take precautions to minimize their exposure to mosquito bites even though not all mosquitoes carry the diseases. These precautions include, but are not limited to:

  • Wear long, loose fitting, light colored clothing
  • Wear insect repellents according to product labels
  • Avoid mosquito infested areas during prime periods of activity (between dusk and dawn)
  • Install, inspect, and repair window and door screens in homes and stables
  • Regularly clean bird baths and bowls for pet food and water
  • Remove or empty all water-holding containers
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