A Cumberland County resident has likely contracted West Nile virus in the state’s first locally-acquired mosquito-borne viral illness since 2018.
The resident is hospitalized, said Robert Long, spokesperson for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The case of West Nile virus, a potentially serious disease that can infect humans, birds and horses, follows the discovery in September of mosquitoes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts that carried the virus, Long said.
No Maine mosquitoes carrying the disease have been found, Long said, but Maine mosquitoes could still carry the virus. They remain active when the temperature is above 50 degrees and until the second heavy frost of the season, he said.
The virus was first identified in New Hampshire in August 2000.
West Nile is within a group group of viruses that includes Dengue, Saint Louis Encephalitis, Yellow Fever and Zika, Long said. Its symptoms in severe cases include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation and can result in a coma. People over 60 years old or who have cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease face greater risk from the virus, according to cdc.gov.
Maine CDC tests mosquitoes for equine encephalitis and West Nile all summer starting in July. Weekly mosquito surveillance reports are available at maine.gov.