MARYLAND

Maryland confirms first case of West Nile Virus

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BALTIMORE (AP/ABC7) - Maryland public health officials say the first case of West Nile virus has been diagnosed in the state and that the virus has now been detected in two separate places in the state.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports that an adult in central Maryland has been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease.

The Baltimore Sun reports officials also say the virus was also detected in a pool of mosquitoes collected in Montgomery County by the Department of Defense.

Health experts say that cases of West Nile have popped up in the D.C. metro area every summer for the past decade, but it's nothing to take lightly. If contracted, the virus can be very serious, especially for those over 50 or for people with weakened immune systems.

Officials say that those who are most susceptible to the disease can contract encephalitis and meningitis, among other ailments. For some, these can be fatal.

Mosquitoes gather and breed anywhere there is standing water, such as empty flower pots, pools, puddles and birdbaths. Health officials warn, as always, to stay away from those areas.

Insect repellent should also be used, and if you're venturing outside, the public is encouraged to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats. Officials say that mosquitoes are most active at down and dusk.

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