Maryland reports first West Nile virus death

Maryland health officials are reporting the state's first death from the West Nile virus.

State health department spokeswoman Dori Henry said Thursday that the department is not releasing any details on the death.


Maryland has had 13 cases of West Nile virus this year. Nineteen cases, including one death, were reported last year, and 23 cases the year before in Maryland.

Federal officials announced Wednesday that West Nile cases nationwide are up 40 percent since last week and may rival the record years of 2002 and 2003.


Officials say an early spring and hot summer may be responsible. Mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and spread it to people they bite. Symptoms include fever, headache and body aches, and most people recover in a few days.

The Baltimore County Health Department said Thursday that because of an unrelated, nonfatal West Nile case, state agriculture officials plan to spray in the Milford area Sept. 6 and 13.

Local officials were notified about that case by the state Aug. 24, said county spokeswoman Monique Lyle. No details were available.

The spraying will take place after 7:30 p.m. Residents should stay indoors during the procedure, officials said.

State agriculture trucks will conduct the spraying of Biomist 30-30, a substance with the active ingredient permethrin that is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, they said.

Maryland agriculture and health officials regularly monitor for West Nile and other diseases carried by mosquitoes, wild birds and other animals. Agriculture officials also administer programs to control mosquitoes and educate the public. Officials there partner with 16 counties to spray for mosquitoes.

The Associated Press and Baltimore Sun reporters Alison Knezevich and Meredith Cohn contributed to this article.