The Vermont Department of Health has reported second human case of West Nile virus in Vermont as well as the infection of two alpacas.
The department said a second person was infected with mosquito-borne virus this summer and is now recovering.
This latest confirmed case is a person from Essex County who was bitten by an infected mosquito in late August. The other human case this year was confirmed in September. Two Vermonters were reported as having been infected with West Nile virus in 2011, the first to have been identified in Vermont since 2003.
Lab results also showed that two alpacas from Highgate and Morrisville were infected. Neither of these animals had been vaccinated for West Nile virus, and both have since died.
“People should continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites until we have had two or three good, hard frosts,” said State Epidemiologist Patsy Kelso. Owners of horses, llamas and alpacas should work closely with their veterinarians to determine appropriate vaccination protocols for these susceptible livestock species.
Symptoms of West Nile virus are often mild, but up to 20 percent of people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and vomiting. About one in 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness, which can be fatal.
The Health Department is reminding Vermonters to avoid mosquito bites by taking the following precautions:
- Wear long sleeves and pants and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.
- Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water and by draining areas where water can pool such as rain gutters, wading pools, and old tires.
- Use repellents containing no more than 30 percent DEET on adults, and no more than 10 percent on children age 3 and older.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
For more information about West Nile virus, visit the Vermont Department of Health website at healthvermont.gov.