Maryland reports first West Nile virus case of 2014

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced on Thursday that it confirmed the first West Nile virus (WNV) case of 2014.

The infected person was an adult who lives in the North Capital Region of the state. Public health officials in Maryland said the case is not out of the ordinary.

"A case of WNV is not unexpected," DHMH Secretary Joshua Sharfstein said. "Marylanders are reminded that they can take basic steps to reduce the risk of getting infected."

The DHMH is recommending that residents avoid areas with high levels of mosquito activity and to wear long-sleeved clothing while outside. They should also wear mosquito repellent and avoid unnecessary activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, the DHMH said.

Residents are also urged to take steps to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, including regularly turning over standing sources of water to eliminate mosquito breeding areas.

WNV has also been detected this year in a horse, as well as in mosquito pools in Harford, Montgomery, Prince George's and Talbot counties.

Maryland reported 16 cases of WNV infection in 2013. The peak years of human cases of the disease were in 2003 and 2012, when 73 and 47 cases of WNV were reported in the state respectively.