PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL – The Palm Beach County Health Department said a mosquito borne disease advisory issued in October will remain in effect today after it was confirmed that a woman contracted West Nile Virus in the county.
It has been five years since a resident was diagnosed with West Nile Virus in Palm Beach County — and it is the seventh case reported since 2000, health officials said.
PBC Health Department Director Alina Alonso said the department will continue monitoring for all mosquito borne diseases.
“Today’s West Nile Virus confirmation in a resident serves as a reminder for people to avoid mosquito bites as they do transmit disease,” said Alonso.
Officials said the woman became ill with the virus and was diagnosed by her medical provider.
The health department said West Nile Virus symptoms are generally mild and include a stiff neck or headache that lasts a few days. More severe cases include fever, dizziness, weakness and confusion.
A mosquito borne disease advisory from October was issued after two cases of Dengue Fever were reported in the county. Dengue is another disease carried by mosquitoes that is monitored along with St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the health department said.
These diseases are not transmitted person to person and are only acquired through the bite of a mosquito.
The PBC Health Department is encouraging everyone to drain any standing water from around their home or business, as mosquitoes can leave their eggs in the smallest water reservoirs. They are also advising people to cover their windows with screens in good condition, use air conditioning when possible and cover themselves with light weight, long sleeve clothing and pants.
Insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin are also effective in preventing the mosquito from biting, the department said.
The Health Department continues to monitor the mosquito population, Tim O’Connor explained, “We are also coming into the winter, so that should diminish slightly, but again, because of the high amounts of rain and the standing water that we’ve had around, those eggs are now hatching out, so there is a better likelihood that people could get a mosquito-borne disease.”
Mosquito control efforts and programs are continuing throughout the county following these alerts.
Anyone experiencing symptoms should see their medical provider or visit the nearest hospital or clinic.
Further information can be obtained by visiting the Department of Health Website at www.doh.state.fl.us , or the Palm Beach County Health Department site at www.pbchd.com or the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hxIKkBpF7g