First detection of West Nile Virus found in Maryland

The first case of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus has now been reported in Maryland.

In Prince George's County, the mosquito control team sprayed over the weekend after an insect with West Nile Virus was found in Prince George's County last week.

Traces of West Nile Virus were reportedly detected in a mosquito caught in a trap near Hyattsville.

As a precaution, the Maryland Department of Agriculture's mosquito control team is planning to spray the area including open fields and other areas.

Mosquito traps have been tested in Laurel but were not positive. The Maryland Department of Agriculture reportedly sprayed Laurel twice in June. They've yet to spray in the month of July due to weather and low mosquito counts.

It's a good time to remind folks, you can reduce the risk of mosquito bites by using repellent, avoiding standing water and wearing clothes that cover your skin.

City of Laurel employee Adam Novak says to keep mosquitos away, "remove standing water."

"Anybody with buckets, we dumped them out at our locations and facilities and just blow puddles away with backpack blowers and any other thing we can think of. Spraying does help keep them down as well as spraying yourself with some kind of repellant," he said.

The peak West Nile Virus infection reportedly happened more than a decade ago in 2003 when 73-cases were reported statewide. Since then the number has dropped.

Dr. Kimberly Mitchell, an epidemiologist at the Maryland Department of Health, spoke about how the large rain totals can affect the mosquito population.

"This year there has been a lot more rainfall than usual, in spring and now in summer. Sometimes that can create more breeding areas for mosquitoes, so it's not entirely surprising that we've seen the first case a little bit earlier this year," explained Mitchell.

If you are bitten by a mosquito and experience signs and symptoms including headache, fever, and weakness, contact your doctor.

If there's a mosquito problem in your area, you can call (301) 725-0088.