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MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – If you plan to spend your day working or playing outdoors, you may want to apply some bug spray along with the sunscreen.
On Wednesday, the Miami-Dade County Health Department issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory after they confirmed that a 27-year-old man contracted West Nile virus in August from a mosquito bite; he’s since fully recovered.
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.
“We live in a place that has mosquitoes,” said Barrow. “It’s hot, it’s humid and they’re here.”
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 Barrow 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.
“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.”
Symptoms may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion.
“Some times there is some lymph node enlargement, some times some body rash, primarily on the chest, stomach and back,” said Conte.
The virus can be particularly dangerous for children and the elderly.
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.