State Health Officials Announce Confirmed Human Case of West Nile Virus

For Immediate Release: September 25, 2003

Contact: Cortland Lohff, M.D.
State Epidemiologist
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7240

Patsy Tassler, Ph.D.
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7240

BURLINGTON—Vermont Department of Health officials today announced a confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Addison County. The infected individual was never hospitalized, and is doing well.

The resident recently spent time outdoors in Nebraska and Colorado, regions where West Nile virus activity had been confirmed.

“Although this is a Vermont resident, he was likely infected while traveling”, states Cortland Lohff, State Epidemiologist. “We can’t say for certain that he wasn’t infected in Vermont.”

“Mosquitoes are still active this time of year, and people need to continue taking precautions”, Dr. Lohff added.

Because West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, the Health Department recommends that people limit their outdoor time at dawn and dusk, wear long sleeves and pants when possible, and use an insect repellant that contains DEET. Carefully follow the directions for applying DEET, and never use it on infants.

Any puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Vermonters are asked to drain the areas where water can pool near their homes such as rain gutters, wading pools, and any other water-holding containers.

More information about West Nile virus can be found on the Vermont Department of Health web site at: http://www.healthyvermonters.info/hs/epi/idepi/westnile/wnvhome.shtml

West Nile virus was first documented in the U.S. in 1999 and in Vermont in 2000. Nationally, 43 states have documented West Nile virus activity to date in 2003.