Leon County Resident Contracts West Nile Virus

By: Leon County Health Department Release, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Leon County Health Department Release, Julie Montanaro Email

[UPDATE] August 21, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is battling the west nile virus tonight. It's the first human case in Leon County this year.

The man lives in Leon County and works in Jefferson County.
So a West Nile advisory has been issued for both counties.

Ken Whritenour has been in the lawn care business in Tallahassee for nearly ten years. As far a mosquitoes go, he says this summer is one of the worst.

""It's just unbelieveable the amount of bugs this year. We have our employees spray down with Off twice a day. We have to. It's just amazing the amount of bugs that are out there," Whritenour said as he and a crew from Turf Pro worked off Appleyard Drive.

Those pesky mosquitoes can be downright dangerous.

A 53-year-old Tallahassee man has been diagnosed with the West Nile virus.

"We're not exactly sure whether he picked up the virus in Leon County or Jefferson County," Leon County Health Administrator Homer Rice said. Rice says the man has been released from the hospital and is improving, but everyone must guard against mosquito bites, especially at night.

"The mosquito that primarily carries the west nile virus is the Culex species. The Culex species likes to bite at night, so if you're out in the evenings, cooking out in the evening on your deck, wear mosquito repellant," Rice said as he addressed reporters Tuesday.

Health administraors say recent rains are boosting the chances for mosquito bites and mosquito-born diseases like West Nile.

"The enormous amount of rain we've had over the last month has resulted in a very large population of mosquitoes and since the mosquitoes are everywhere, the chances or you being bitten are greater. So we just want to caution people that some of these mosquitoes can carry various diseases," Rice said.

"It makes us more cautious now. We're going to have to spray ourselves even more. It's just something you have to do," Whritenhour said upon hearing about the Tallahassee man with West Nile.

The severity of west nile can vary greatly. For some people, it feels like the flu, for others it's life-threatening.

"It can cause flu-like symptoms, but at some period, it can also migrate and cause an encephalitis, a swelling of the brain, and that can lead to coma and death," Rice said.

22-year-old Daniel Williams of Tallahassee was diagnosed with West Nile last year. He nearly died.

He was hospitalized for four months and in rehab for three more months. He's now recovering at home.

Daniel is in physical therapy three times a week and has started taking college classes on line. His mother says his goal is to walk again.

She says she shuddered when she heard about the newest case of West Nile.
August 21, 2012 - Noon -

A West Nile Virus advisory has been issued in Leon and Jefferson County. That advisory comes after a Tallahassee man was diagnosed with the virus and hospitalized.

This is the first human case of the West Nile Virus confirmed in Leon County this year. The patient is a 53-year-old man. A health department spokeswoman said the man had been hospitalized, but has since been released and is improving.

The West Nile advisory covers both Leon and Jefferson County because the man lived in Leon County, but traveled to Jefferson County.

They're not sure where he got the West Nile bite.

Another sign that mosquitoes are out in force? A horse in Jefferson County has tested positive for EEE and so has one of the sentinel chickens in Leon County.


August 21, 2012 - 11:15am

Leon County Health Department spokesperson Page Jolly confirmed that the first case of West Nile Virus in a human this year was a 53 year old man. She say the man was hospitalized initially, but has since been released and is improving.


August 21, 2012 -

Leon County Health Department Release

This is to advise you that there has been increased mosquito-borne disease activity in areas of Leon and Jefferson counties. A resident of Leon County, who also visited Jefferson County during the time he was bitten, has tested positive for West Nile virus. In addition, we have one presumed positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) in Leon County’s sentinel chicken flock. Although none of Jefferson County’s mosquito pools has tested positive for any mosquito-borne disease, Jefferson recently had a horse test positive for EEE infection. The risk of transmission to humans has been increased.

Both county health departments remind residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. County mosquito control offices and the health departments continue surveillance and prevention efforts and encourage everyone to take basic precautions to help limit exposure by following the Department of Health recommendations.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember “Drain and Cover”:

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent.

CLOTHING - Wear shoes, socks and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.

REPELLENT - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.
Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches and patios.

PROTECT PETS from mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes can transmit heartworms to your dog and cat, so please call your veterinarian about the best precautions to take for your pets. Although curable if caught early enough, heartworm treatment is expensive and difficult for animals.

Tips on Repellent Use:

§ Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.

§ Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET are generally recommended. Other US Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.

§ Apply insect repellent to exposed skin or onto clothing but not under clothing.

§ In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.

§ Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.

§ If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria and dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the web site for Surveillance of Wild-bird Die-offs located at http://www.myfwc.com/bird/. For more information, visit DOH’s Environmental Public Health web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call your local county health department’s environmental health division.

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