It was a record-breaking year for the West Nile virus and it's hitting close to home for a Hillsborough County family.
A 60-year-old man became the county's first locally-acquired case in eight years. He is home and recovering and being treated with retro-viral medications, to counter the West Nile bug.
He's the one case we know for sure in humans here in the bay area, but the Health Department said there could already be more people infected, who got sick, but just didn't realize what they were fighting.
Paul Wiezorek walks his family dogs in the morning.
"We come to the park twice a day," he said.
Also, after work, near dusk, which is prime time for hungry mosquitoes. And now, with at least one confirmed case of the West Nile virus in a 60-year-old Citrus Park man, it's time for everyone to be aware.
"I'd heard that it was in Florida," said Wiezorek. "I had not heard that it was in Hillsborough County until you mentioned it and yeah, it would be a concern."
He already carries a can of "OFF: or deet spray with him, as well as maybe taking some additional mosquito-fighting methods.
"Maybe covering-up a little bit more, but it's kinda hot, I'm sweating pretty bad right now," he laughed.
The all-out West Nile assault is upon us, with tons of standing water county-wide right now.
"It's kind of stagnant I guess, most of the time, it doesn't move much," said Wiezorek, referring to a small stream he walks by daily, which was teeming with mosquitoes, even as we did this interview.
"This actually can be from a single mosquito, and it's the mosquito that's out in the marshes, and in the grasses, away from the homes," said Warren McDougle, who is the Epidemiology Program Manager for Hillsborough County. He said, they got the final word on this case Thursday.
"We got very lucky, in that one of our local providers saw a patient, and they contacted us to let us know that it was a suspect case and we worked with them to make sure that all the testing was done properly and we got laboratory confirmation," said McDougle.
"The vast majority of people are gonna have very mild symptoms or perhaps no symptoms at all," said FOX13 Medical Doctor, Joette Giovinco.
"Fever, headache, stiff neck, some disorientation," are just some of the symptoms, said McDougle. "There actually is no particular treatment for mild cases, it just runs it's cycle, and you get well on your own."
But for young children or people over 50 years old, there can be complications.
"Because they can develop what's called the neuro-invasive form of the disease and that can cause swelling in the brain, and some of these people will die, so we think of this, as a preventable illness," said Dr. Giovinco.
West Nile was first detected in Florida 11 years ago and the best thing you can do is drain and cover any standing water in or around your yard. Also keep in mind, it takes from 2 to 15 days for a person to develop symptoms after being bitten by an infected mosquito. West Nile virus is not transmitted from human to human.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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