Miami-Dade County has now seen more than 50 reported cases of West Nile virus this year, health officials say. Five more cases have been announced.
On Friday, the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County announced five more human cases of West Nile virus infection from local transmission in Miami-Dade residents. This brings the county’s total to 54 cases in 2020.
The county has been placed under a mosquito-borne-illness alert. Miami-Dade’s first two cases of West Nile virus were detected in May, both in county residents and through local transmission.
On Aug. 4, Broward County saw its first West Nile virus case since 2012. Monroe County is dealing with its own mosquito-borne illness outbreak as 47 people have been infected with Dengue fever.
Miami-Dade County’s mosquito-control chief, William Petrie, said in late June that this summer’s resurgence of West Nile probably reflects the heavy rains that cause mosquito populations to explode.
The county’s health department has been working with the Department of Solid Waste Management to introduce mosquito control prevention efforts in the exposure areas, health officials said.
Roughly 1 in 5 of those infected develop a fever or other symptoms, which typically appear between two and 14 days after the infected mosquito bites. Fewer than 1% of people who contract the virus develop a serious or fatal illness.
People 60 and older and those with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk for severe disease, health officials said.
The state Department of Health says West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States. There are no vaccines to prevent it or medications to treat it.
Health officials say to “Drain and Cover.” Drain standing water in garbage cans, gutters, buckets, pools, coolers, birdbaths and pet water bowls. Also throw away old tires, drums, bottles, cans and broken appliances.
Cover skin with clothing and apply repellent that uses DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or IR3535 for protection from mosquitoes.