HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – West Nile Virus has been identified in mosquitoes in Cabell County, according to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department mosquito program.
The CHHD says no cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in humans at this time. If a case is confirmed in a person, health officials say they will notify the public to reduce the risk of human exposure.
According to the CHHD, their mosquito surveillance team traps the insects and submits them to the West Virginia Office of Laboratory Services for viral testing, and this is when the insects carrying the virus.
The health department says any complaints they receive regarding heavy mosquito activity will be investigated.
“West Nile Virus is frequently found in mosquitoes in Cabell County during the summer months. The disease in people is not common, but it can be severe,” Cabell-Huntington Health Department’s CEO and Health Officer Dr. Michael Kilkenny said. “There is no human vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile infection so it’s important to lower the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.”
Health officials say most people who are exposed to West Nile Virus do not have any symptoms, but there are some cases where people may develop a serious illness which could lead to hospitalization, or in a rare instance, even death.
Mosquito bites can be avoided and the CHHD says they urge residents to take the following precautions, which they call the “4 Ds”:
- Dress: Wear long sleeves or long pants when outdoors
- Deter: Always use approved insect repellants when going outdoors
- Dusk: Avoid being outdoors at the peak hours for mosquitoes such as dawn and dusk
- Drain: Remove standing water from around your home to avoid attracting mosquitoes
Officials say anyone who develops concerning symptoms should contact their health provider, especially if those symptoms are severe. Severe symptoms could include confusion, seizures and fever with either a stiff neck or muscle weakness.
For more information, contact the CHHD at 304-523-6483, visit the CHHD website or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.