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Sussex County man is Delaware's first human case of West Nile Virus in 2022

The First State has its first human case of West Nile Virus this year.

The Division of Public Health announced a 78-year-old Sussex County man is the state’s first human case this year.

This adds to confirmed cases in a horse in New Castle County, and 19 sentinel chickens monitored throughout the state by DNREC.

The virus is a mosquito-borne illness, and it can cause serious health problems.

DPH says Delawareans should be aware that West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes bite primarily during the evening and morning hours or dusk and dawn.

It’s generally transmitted in summer and fall with the peak period lasting to mid-October. Less than 20 percent of those infected will develop mild symptoms like fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands.

One in 150 people infected will develop a severe case which may include headache, high fever, stiff neck, tremors or convulsions, muscle weakness, encephalitis or meningitis, which all can lead to hospitalization and, in very rare instances, death.

To avoid mosquito bites and reduce the risk of infection, use EPA-registered insect repellents, wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants during periods of mosquito activity, and use screens and tightly sealed windows and doorways to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.