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Miami-Dade Issues Health Advisory For West Nile Virus

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(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

CBS Miami (con't)

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Health News & Information: CBSMiami.com/Health

Healthy Living

MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – The Miami-Dade County Health Department has confirmed a human case of West Nile virus.

A 27-year-old man in Miami-Dade contracted the virus but has fully recovered.

The Health Department issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory Wednesday in order to remind residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that may cause West Nile virus.

“The danger from this is primarily neurological damage,” said Dr. Vincent Conte with the county’s Health Department. “Mortality is very rare. It chiefly attacks and depresses your immune system.”

“We bring this to your attention, the public’s attention because West Nile is not a disease that you’d like to have,” said county Health Dept. Administrator Dr. Lillian Rivera.

Symptoms may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion.

The virus can be particularly dangerous for children and the elderly.

Miami-Dade’s mosquito control department plans to step up the spraying by its fleet of ten trucks.

“We’ve got to keep on spraying with all of our trucks,” said Chalmers Vazquez with Miami-Dade Mosquito Control.

This was the 14th case of West Nile Virus in Florida this season and the first in Miami-Dade since 2009.

In 2004, Patricia Barrow contracted the virus. She believes a mosquito bit her while walking her dog.

“I came home and I sat down. I felt like I got hit by a ton of bricks. I felt like I was going to be paralyzed,” said Barrow.

Now Patricia wears insect repellant and often dresses up a little bit more.

“If it’s really bad out here, I wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt when I’m walking the dog,” said Barrow.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself from mosquitoes:

  • When outside always use an insect repellent to bare skin and clothing. Repellents with 10-30% DEET, picaridin, oil of
    lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
  • Try to avoid outside activities in the early morning or evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.
  • When possible, wear long sleeves and pants outdoors.
  • Drain any pools of standing water such as garbage cans, buckets, pool covers, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
  • Always report dead birds to authorities. It may be a sign West Nile is circulating between birds and mosquitoes in the area.
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