By Sonia Dasgupta

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Health announced the first confirmed case of West Nile virus in Maryland this year.

The patient is an adult who lives in the Baltimore metro region, officials said.

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The health department routinely tracks mosquito-borne illnesses, including Zika.

The peak infection of West Nile in Maryland happened between 2003 and 2012, with 73 cases reported statewide.

In 2015, there were 46 cases of West Nile in Maryland.

The health department offers the following tips to help stop people from being infected:

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  • Avoiding areas of high mosquito activity
  • Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats, when concerned about mosquitoes
  • Using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent according to package directions

Symptoms of WNV include any combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. Symptoms don’t show for two to 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito.

In rare instances, West Nile virus can be fatal.

Although birds are not routinely tested for WNV in Maryland, sick or injured birds can be reported to an appropriate local wildlife rehabilitator. Residents can call 1-877-463-6497 for a list of licensed rehabilitators or visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website at http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/plants_wildlife/rehabilitators.aspx. Detailed instructions on what to do when you find a sick or dead bird can be found at  http://dnr.maryland.gov/Wildlife/Pages/plants_wildlife/wildlifeproblems.aspx.

MDH provides weekly updates of WNV detected in humans, mosquitoes, and horses in Maryland on its website. For each case, MDH indicates whether the infected individual is a child or an adult, and the region of the state where the individual resides. The reports are updated every Wednesday and can be  found at https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/CZVBD/pages/Data-and-Statistics.aspx.

For additional information on WNV, visit MDH at https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/CZVBD/Pages/west-nile-virus.aspx, MDA at http://mda.maryland.gov/AnimalHealth/Pages/Diseases.aspx, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile.

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