Miami-Dade resident confirmed as having first case of West Nile virus this year

MIAMI, Fla. – The first local case of West Nile virus for 2020 has been confirmed in a Miami-Dade resident. That first report comes two months later this year than in 2019. The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County issued the mosquito-borne illness alert Saturday. Last year, the first case was identified in March, while the second locally acquired case was reported in August.

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the virus in people.

Most people infected with West Nile virus do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms such as headache, pain, and fatigue. Symptoms usually appear between two and 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. People with mild illness typically recover within about a week.

Less than one-percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. People over the age of 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk for severe disease.

Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread West Nile virus to people and other animals by biting them.

West Nile virus is not spread:

· Through coughing, sneezing, or touching

· By touching live animals

· From handling live or dead infected birds. Avoid bare-handed contact when handling any dead animal. If you are disposing of a dead bird, use gloves or double plastic bags to place the carcass in a garbage can.

· Through eating infected birds or animals. Always follow instructions for fully cooking meat from either birds or mammals, advises the Department of Health.

See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tips on avoiding West Nile.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local