Florida reports human case of West Nile virus

A human case of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus has been reported in a Florida county, according to health officials there. 

The case was reported in Hillsborough County, according to an advisory from the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, a local branch of the Florida Department of Health. 

Health officials first became aware of the case following a blood donation,  Kevin Watler, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, told local outlet WFLA. 

“Anytime blood is donated, run through a lab, and there is a reportable disease that is detected in it, it is something we are made aware of at the Health Department,” he said. 

WEST NILE VIRUS OVERLOOKED DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC? PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT CITES SIMILAR SYMPTOMS

No other details on the case were immediately provided. 

West Nile virus —  which was first reported in the U.S. in 1999 — is typically spread by infected mosquitoes. Though side effects can be severe, most people who are infected experience little to no symptoms and fully recover.

A small percentage of people infected with West Nile virus — roughly 1 in 5 — develop a fever and may additionally experience headaches, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash, among other side effects. Even rarer, about 1 in 150 people who are infected with the mosquito-linked ailment can develop a serious illness, such as inflammation of the spinal cord or brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

WHAT IS WEST NILE VIRUS? 

The Mayo Clinic warns people who are older, as well as those with pre-existing medical conditions, are more susceptible to the virus.

Wearing insect repellent and protective clothing, as well as draining standing water around gardens and homes where mosquitoes can lay eggs, can be helpful in reducing the risk of sustaining a mosquito bite, ultimately mitigating the risk of developing West Nile virus.