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Doctors urge parents to protect against West Nile

PHOENIX — The first case in 2013 of West Nile in Maricopa County has been confirmed and doctors are encouraging parents to take steps to protect their children from mosquito bites.

The Center for Disease Control and Dr. Clifford Goodman of MomDoc are advising expecting and nursing moms to take extra precautions to avoid getting the disease.

“Stay indoors in the early morning and early evening when mosquitoes are most prevalent,” Linda Torkelson from MomDoc said.

Research has shown that the West Nile Virus can be potentially dangerous to mom and baby, even through breastfeeding.

Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, swollen lymph glands and skin rash. In severe cases, fever is high. There may be a stiff neck, disorientation, convulsions or tremors and paralysis.

The virus has no treatment and, like chicken pox, once a person is infected there is immunity to future infection.

It is advised that any stagnant water be removed from bird baths, potted plants, tires and other containers around the house, according to a press release from MomDoc. Pools and decorative ponds should also be properly maintained to prevent mosquitoes. Eliminating the breeding sites is the key.

Anyone who believes they have contracted the disease is urged to contact their health care provider immediately.

Last year in Maricopa County, there were 168 positive West Nile samples identified and 76 lab-confirmed human cases along with two deaths reported.