Four human cases of West Nile infection in Collier County; no new cases in Lee County
State health officials report a total of four human cases of West Nile virus in Collier County and they urge the public to take precautions.
The reported cases are since July, according to Kristine Hollingsworth, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health in Collier County.
The department issued a new advisory Thursday that there is a heightened concern more residents could become ill.
People should be proactive to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes, which is how West Nile is transmitted to humans.
“West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can produce symptoms ranging from headaches and fever at best, to inflammation of the spinal cord and other life threatening illnesses,” Hollingsworth said.
State health officials in Lee County last month reported one case of human infection with West Nile virus and there are no new cases, according to spokeswoman Tammy Yzaguirre.
Most people who are infected with the virus don’t show symptoms or only have minor symptoms like mild headache and fever, and the symptoms generally go away on their own, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More serious symptoms are severe headache, weakness and disorientation which require immediate medical attention. In some cases, people develop inflammation of the spinal cord or brain, which can be life threatening.
The Collier Mosquito Control District on Sept. 19 issued an advisory that its scientists had detected West Nile in local mosquitoes and the district was taking measures to limit the mosquito population.
Residents can reduce mosquitoes around their homes by draining standing water in buckets or pots outside that provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The health department advises using mosquito repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535. Another step is to wear clothing to cover skin.
Repellent should not be used to protect children younger than two months old.
For more information, visit the state health department website at floridahealth.gov.