Florida's Miami-Dade County reported 10 more cases of West Nile virus on Thursday. After reporting its first case of the year on May 9, the county has reported a total of 14 West Nile virus cases.

The disease is a viral infection transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The Florida Department of Health said on Thursday that the 10 Miami-Dade residents contracted the virus through local transmission.

Mosquito
Mosquito Wikimedia Commons

After reporting the first case on May 9, another Miami-Dade resident was reported infected on May 27. The county reported two more cases on June 11, followed by a staggering number of 10 cases on June 25, taking the total count to 14.

The health department has placed the county under a mosquito-borne-illness alert and the residents are being reminded to 'Drain and Cover'. It is a public service campaign in which residents are told to do away with articles that can accumulate water, that can serve as breeding grounds for mosquitos.

It urges people to drain standing water from garbage cans, gutters, buckets, pools, coolers, birdbaths and pet water bowls, Miami Herald reported. Also, they are asked to do away with old tires, drums, bottles, cans and other broken appliances.

About West Nile

The virus was first discovered in 1937 in a woman in Uganda's West Nile district, from which it gets its name. It is commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The virus was transported to the United States in 1999 through Israel and Tunisia. It led to a huge outbreak that spread throughout the continental USA in the following years.

In the majority of those infected, the virus causes mild symptoms. Less than one percent develop fatal illnesses, with people above 60 and those suffering from other serious ailments, at a greater risk of developing a serious disease.

Just one in five of those infected develop symptoms, such as fever, headaches, pain and fatigue. They appear in two to 14 days after an infected mosquito bites.

Prevention Methods

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and apply mosquito repellents. The repellants should contain one of the mentioned active ingredients, which are: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol and IR3535. Also, people are advised to controls mosquitos, both indoor and outdoor, such as by using screens on windows and doors and preventing breeding grounds for them.