ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — For the first time this year, mosquitoes in Maryland have tested positive for the West Nile virus. Health officials say more are expected. Now they’re taking action to try and prevent people getting sick.
Meghan McCorkell has more.
According to the CDC, 90 human cases of West Nile virus have already been reported this year, including one in Maryland.
As Beatrice Zinchan watches her two young granddaughters play at the park, she’s on the lookout for mosquitoes.
“Even in the evening sometimes, like around 5 or 6 o’clock when it starts to get dark, you get bit then too when it’s raining, wet,” she said.
Her worry–the diseases those critters could be carrying.
“That’s one thing about it. You never know,” said Zinchan.
This week, mosquitoes in Prince George’s County tested positive for West Nile virus–a potentially life-threatening illness.
Officials with the Department of Agriculture immediately sprayed down the area in Bowie to try and prevent anyone from getting sick. But experts warn more positive tests are expected.
In 2014, 33 mosquito pools in the state tested positive for West Nile virus in six different counties.
Last year, six human cases of West Nile virus were reported in Maryland–one of them in the Baltimore region.
“There are very few cases right now, but with our great rainy season, they’re bound to be much more,” said Dr. Michael Zimring, Mercy Medical Center.
Dr. Zimring says it’s important to clear standing water that attracts mosquitoes and protect yourself when you go outside.
“DEET, you put on your exposed skin,” he said. “If you’re going outside, about a 30 percent DEET would be ideal.”
As for Beatrice Zinchan, she is taking precautions to keep her and her loved ones safe.
Dr. Zimring says people with West Nile virus can have flu-like symptoms. Some have no symptoms at all.
The CDC reports three West Nile deaths this year–one in Arizona, another in California and the third in Texas.