BALTIMORE (WJZ)— There is an alarming spike in cases of West Nile Virus nationwide in what could be the worst year ever for the disease.

Across the country, 87 people have died from West Nile, a virus carried and spread by mosquitoes. Here in Maryland, the state is taking an aggressive approach to fighting West Nile.

Thursday night is just the first of several nights that crews will spray for mosquitoes.

Kai Jackson has more on the areas they’re targeting.

Maryland health officials say West Nile Virus is a threat in the state. But there are vigorous efforts to contain it.

There’s an aggressive campaign in Maryland to attack mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) is on the offensive spraying in vulnerable areas after a confirmed case in Milford Mill in Baltimore County.

“It’s a confirmed human case of West Nile Virus,” Toney DeWitt of the MDA said.

West Nile spraying took place in Baltimore County Thursday night. And next week, the MDA plans to spray in Harundale, Anne Arundel County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there have been nearly 2,000 West Nile cases in 48 states causing 87 deaths, including one in Maryland.

“We’re hoping to stop any further disesase transmission and reduce the mosquito, the adult mosquito population,” DeWitt said.

Health and environment experts say wet conditions in the state have helped the mosquito population thrive.

Many people infected with West Nile don’t have symptoms at all. Those who do often feel like they have the flu.

“It was just miserable. Fever and chills and headaches, nausea, you name it,” said Katherine Deville, a West Nile patient.

“That’s why we do try to reinforce our prevention messages,” Kimberly Mitchell of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said. “To encourage people to use repellent, repair their screens that are damaged and empty standing water areas around their houses.”

The basic ingredient the MDA is using to attack the West Nile Virus is permethrin, an insecticide used in most bug repellents.

The MDA also advices residents to stay indoors for at least 30 minutes until after spraying has occurred.

Spraying Thursday night will be repeated again next Thursday in the Milford Mill area of Baltimore County.


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