Reporting Denise Koch
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dangerous mosquitoes. There are renewed warnings from health officials as Maryland sees its first case of West Nile virus this year.
Denise Koch reports peak season for the disease is just beginning.
It’s summer. The mosquitoes are biting and spreading a potentially deadly virus.
West Nile virus is gripping the nation. The CDC is seeing its biggest spike in cases in eight years.
“Having this much activity this early and this widespread is cause for concern,” said. Dr. Roger Nasci, CDC.
And Maryland isn’t immune. The Maryland Department of Health has just diagnosed an adult in Central Maryland with the virus.
“A lot of people who do get infected do not have any symptoms,” said Kimberly Mitchell, Maryland Department of Health.
State health officials say most cases come to light in August and September, and they expect to see more victims before the summer’s over.
“The virus is always there. Anyone living in any part of Maryland is at risk, and so they should take those steps and use repellant and try to avoid mosquito bites,” Mitchell said.
In Dallas County, Texas, a judge declared a public health emergency Friday. About 175 people there have been infected.
“When I came in I was just sluggish. Second day I come in I was worse. Third day it just knocked me flat on my back,” said James Blessing, survivor.
With no vaccine to prevent the virus and no medication to treat it, that community is looking for help from the federal government.
“We’re talking about a third-world virus in a 21st century country, and since 1999 we still don’t have medication,” said Zachary Thompson, Dallas County Health & Human Services.
Nationwide, four people have died from West Nile virus this year.