- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2018

The first case of West Nile virus was confirmed in Virginia, Fairfax County health representatives said Thursday.

The disease is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

The patient is an adult male and a resident of the northwestern part of the county, the Fairfax Health Department said in statement. The man was hospitalized and is recovering from the illness, the statement said.

The case in Virginia follows one confirmed case in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Last year, there were six reported cases in the state.

Fairfax County health officials warned that more cases are likely to follow.

“With high levels of [West Nile virus] in mosquitoes and the recent rains leading to even more mosquitoes, it’s important for residents of Fairfax County to take precautions to protect themselves and their families,” Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, director of Epidemiology and Population Health, said in a statement.

Around eight in 10 infected people don’t experience symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms, however, include fever, body aches and joint pain, vomiting or rash.

Severe illness can occur in about 1 in 150 people with the virus affecting the central nervous system, causing inflammation such as encephalitis.

Residents are urged to use mosquito repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wearing long pants and long sleeves to cover exposed skin can also mitigate bites. Avoid areas where there are high rates of mosquitoes, especially during peak biting times at dawn and dusk.

Officials also encourage residents to get rid of standing water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

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