Mosquitoes in York County have been tested positive for West Nile virus and Mainers should take action to be bitten by mosquitoes, said the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The positive test is the first direct confirmation this year The disease is borne by mosquitoes in Maine. The disease spreads every summer in the mosquito populations of the United States, but does not often reach Maine. The last time a mosquito in Maine tested positive for the West Nile was in September 2015, according to government data.
State health officials announced this week that a person from Cumberland County was diagnosed with the virus, but the CDC said they believed this person ̵
Maine's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory this week confirmed the presence of West Nile virus in a group of mosquitoes collected August 21 in Kittery, the CDC said. The state collects a sample of up to 50 mosquitoes – known as the mosquito pool – and tests for the disease. A mosquito pool was tested positive.
"The West Nile is currently distributed throughout the United States," said state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett. "People should take extra precautions to avoid being bitten."
Four cases of West Nile virus were confirmed this season in Massachusetts and another case was confirmed in Connecticut.
The adult in Cumberland County, who was tested positive for West Nile, fell ill during an overland trip in early August and was hospitalized. It is the first human case of the state of the West Nile virus since 2015.
Mosquitoes harbor West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis when they bite infected birds. While most people who are infected with the mosquito-borne virus show no symptoms, others may develop fever, headaches, body aches and stiffness.
Officials say that the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to get rid of stagnant water and wear insect repellent. They also recommend people to vaccinate horses against West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis virus.
Gillian Graham can be reached at 791-6315 or at
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