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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: October 9, 2012


Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) confirmed a human West Nile virus case in the Middletown area, bringing the state's total cases to seven. The case was mild and the individual's prognosis is good. Seven cases is the second largest yearly total in state history; surpassed only by 2003 in which there were 17 West Nile virus cases.

West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, generally from spring to fall. Nearly 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will not become ill. About 20 percent of those infected will develop West Nile fever, with mild flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands), and one in 150 people infected will develop severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis).


Symptoms of severe West Nile virus infection include headache, high fever, stiff neck, and/or tremors and muscle weakness. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Anyone who experiences any of these severe symptoms should seek medical help immediately. Symptoms may progress to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly death.

To avoid mosquito bites and reduce the risk of infection, individuals should:

Mosquito Control Efforts

Delaware's mosquito control season runs from mid-March through mid-October and sometimes until early November, depending upon weather conditions. During late summer, the Delaware Mosquito Control Section in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) sprays for larval and adult mosquitoes and performs field applications throughout the state about five days per week.

For more information on Mosquito Control, call 302-739-9917 or visit

For more information about West Nile virus in horses, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture at 302-698-4500 or 800-282-8685 (Delaware only).

For more general information on West Nile Virus, go to

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.