Delaware sees first human case of West Nile Virus since 2018 | Delaware First Media
Delaware Public Media

Delaware sees first human case of West Nile Virus since 2018

Sep 3, 2021

Delaware reports its first human case of West Nile Virus in three years.

The Division of Public Health says a 69-year-old Kent County man is the state’s first confirmed case since 2018.

The state had 10 West Nile cases that year, including two deaths.

DPH is not offering any other information on the current West Nile case, but says it is investigating to confirm any travel history or sources that could have led to transmission.

“We’re sad to learn that a case of West Nile Virus has been reported in Delaware,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay in a statement. “West Nile Virus can be very serious and even deadly, particularly in vulnerable populations. Please take all proper precautions when going outdoors and there is a possibility of being bitten by mosquitoes, like wearing insect repellent, especially if you are among a vulnerable population.”

DNREC reported in July it had detected West Nile locally in sentinel chickens in northern New Castle County.

Delaware’s first human case of West Nile was in 2002. The state has seen a total of 51 cases and 5 deaths since then, according to the CDC. 

The state’s worst year for West Nile was 2003 when there were 17 human cases confirmed statewide, including 2 deaths. 

The most recent death from West Nile in Delaware was a 73-year-old New Castle County man in 2018.

Most people infected with West Nile do not develop symptoms, but about 20 percent can develop a mild illness Symptoms include headache, high fever, stiff neck and/or tremors and muscle weakness.

The mosquitoes that cause WNV bite primarily from dusk to dawn.