FAIRFAX, Va. - Health officials said they have confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus this year in Fairfax County.
According to the Fairfax County Health Department, an adult resident living in the northeastern part of Fairfax County was hospitalized from the virus.
The West Nile Virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, according to health officials.
The health department said there has been a large increase of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus across the county, which is happening earlier this summer compared to prior years.
"With high levels of [West Nile Virus] in mosquitoes and the recent rains leading to even more mosquitoes, it's important for residents of Fairfax County to take precautions to protect themselves and their families," the Fairfax County Health Department said in a news release.
West Nile Virus affects the nervous system and some mild symptoms include fever, headaches and muscle aches that can last days to weeks. However, health officials said some severe cases of the virus can also lead to meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis and even death. Those most susceptible are people 50 years old and older and those whose immunity is suppressed because of a disease such as cancer or diabetes.
Fairfax County health officials have provided some tips to avoid mosquito bites:
-- Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, making sure to follow label instructions.
-- Wear long pants and long sleeves to cover exposed skin.
-- Avoid areas where mosquitoes are especially common during peak biting times, particularly at dawn and dusk.
Since mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, residents are also advised to clean or empty out items that may hold water such as old tires, buckets, planters, toys, birdbaths, flowerpots, tarps, trash containers, downspout extensions and other containers to stop mosquitoes from breeding on your property.