Reporting Kai Jackson
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — The state of Maryland is taking new safety steps in the midst of a spike in West Nile virus cases. Wednesday night, crews sprayed communities to kill the mosquitoes that carry this deadly disease.
Kai Jackson explains cases have more than doubled in recent weeks.
State health officials want to get a handle on West Nile virus to stop it from spreading.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture sprayed for mosquitoes in Cape St. Claire. The state is on a mission attacking these pests after a human case of West Nile virus was discovered within a mile of this area.
“Tonight’s spray is a spray in response to a human case of West Nile virus. We’re going to take a one mile radius around the person’s residence and we’re going to spray all the roads in that area,” said Tony Dewitt, Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Dewitt and his team hope they’ll kill any mosquitoes that carry the virus. The truck will spray in the areas of St. Margaret’s, St. Margaret’s Farm and Old Bottom Estates.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture says one thing the public can do to reduce the risk of West Nile virus is to dump standing water on their property. That helps lower the mosquito population.
“If you have old pots or whatever, dump it out. You know, an old swimming pool that you’re not using, dump it out,” said Mike Dove.
West Nile is a virus transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
“What was really scary, there were a number of times I felt I was gonna die,” said West Nile victim Mike Goldsmith.
At its worst, it can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. In some cases, it can be fatal.
Thursday, crews will spray the neighborhoods of Cloverlea, Beverley Beach and Caddle Creek.
Officials say the spray doesn’t pose a significant harm to humans.
“Precautions would be to stay indoors during the spray and then to stay indoors another 20 to 30 minutes after the spray,” Dewitt said.
Health experts say the best protection is prevention.
Getting rid of standing water, using insect repellent and staying indoors at dusk and dawn when most mosquitoes feed the most can limit exposure.