Baltimore County health officials Thursday confirmed the county's first case of West Nile Virus.
The confirmation comes on the same day that state and federal officials announced the first in Maryland.
The county, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, will conduct a spraying program to reduce the mosquito population in the Milford area.
The spraying will take place on Thursday Sept. 6 and 13 at 7:30 p.m., according to a statement released by the Baltimore County Health Department. [A copy of the map of the area to be sprayed is attached to this article.]
The statement did not specifically identify where the case was contracted or any information on the condition of the patient.
West Nile Virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. Typically, the insects pick up the virus from feeding on an infected animal. In humans, the virus generally causes either no symptoms, or mild, flu-like illness. In some cases, it can be deadly, according to the county health department statement.
"Protect yourself and your family against West Nile Virus by eliminating mosquito breeding sites, wearing protective clothing, and using insect repellent," Dr. Gregory Branch, Director of Health and Human Services for Baltimore County, said in the county statement.
Heath department officials offered the following advice for controlling and reducing the mosquito population:
- At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
- Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
- Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
Maryland has reported 13 cases of the virus this year.
Nearly 1,600 cases have been reported in 48 states. About 70 percent of those cases come from Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan—45 percent along were in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of those cases, 66 people have died as of Aug. 28.