UPDATE: The Mobile County Health Department in an Oct. 15 release retracted the previous day’s release that incorrectly reported a human West Nile case. The case was found not in a human but in a sentinel chicken.
MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile County Health Department has reported a third case of human West Nile Virus within the county this year.
Human West Nile virus (WNV) is a form of mosquito-borne encephalitis. Humans with WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases often have symptoms of high fever, severe headache, nausea, stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness, paralysis, disorientation, and seizures that are severe enough to require medical attention, Mobile County Health Officer Dr. Bernard Eichold III said in a press release. In rare cases, WNV can cause coma or death. The seriousness of an illness may depend on a person’s health and age. WNV affects the elderly most severely, health data shows.
Eichold said the risk of encephalitis spread by mosquitoes is highest from August through the first freeze in the fall. Vector Services will increase spraying and conduct door-to-door surveys in the immediate areas. Inspectors will also attempt to trap adult mosquitoes and test them for the presence of WNV.
Health officials warn it is extremely important that people taking part in outdoor activities make every effort to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes and should always keep mosquito repellent with them when outdoors. Mosquito activity peaks at dusk and again at dawn. WNV is transmitted from bird to mosquito to bird. Mosquitoes can spread these viruses by feeding on the blood of infected birds and then biting another host animal or mammal such as a human or a horse.
Although humans and horses can become ill from the infection, the disease cannot be spread from people or horses. The likelihood of transmission to humans and horses can be decreased by personal mosquito avoidance and the use of WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) vaccines in horses. There are no WNV or EEE vaccines available for humans.
To report an issue with mosquitoes, call 251-690-8124 or email VectorServices@mchd.org. To learn more,