West Nile Virus Hits Close to Home

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Floridians love to make the most of summer and its warm nights; however, so do mosquitos. Unfortunately, they can carry the West Nile Virus.  The Florida Health Department reported a confirmation of the mosquito-borne illness in Walton county on Friday.

While rare, West Nile Virus is no stranger to the Emerald Coast. The virus was first found in the United States in 1999 and infection rates vary each year. According to the Florida Department of Health, 69 cases of human infection were reported in Florida in 2012. That year, Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties each confirmed one case of the virus.

Approximately 70-80% of people who contract the virus experience no symptoms at all; for others, symptoms like fever, headache, vomiting, body aches and fatigue can be mild. However, for one percent of those who become infected, the virus can lead to irreversible neurological damage, paralysis, coma or in extreme cases, death.

We recommend these preventive steps to reduce your risk of infection:

  • Wear clothing that covers arms, legs, feet and neck.
  • Use insect repellent when outdoors and spray both exposed skin and clothing.
  • Close or cover doors and windows to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.
  • Drain any standing water around your home, including garbage cans, flower pots and toys.
  • Use extra caution between dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.
  • Seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms.

Immediate Care Clinics are available for any urgent care needs and open seven days a week in Fort Walton Beach.

For more information on White-Wilson Immediate Care providers, call 850.863.8100 or visit www.white-wilson.com.