GAINESVILLE – The three suspected West Nile virus cases discovered in Alachua County have been declared negative.

Paul Myers, Alachua County Health Department administrator, said one of the victims had symptoms consistent with West Nile.

“The confirmatory blood test indicated that one of the three individuals had been infected with the West Nile virus sometime in the past,” Myers said. “We just don’t know exactly when.”

The men had attempted to donate blood when the antibodies for West Nile were the discovered. Each of the men had been exposed to extensive time outside. One of the men had been infected with West Nile sometime in the past.

Alachua County is still under the Mosquito Born Illness advisory that took effect on Sept. 27, 2012.

West Nile symptoms include sudden onset of headache, fever, stiff neck. Symptoms can appear from 2 to 14 days from the first time of exposure.

The illness first appeared in Sentinel chickens. Myers mentioned at least one horse being infected with West Nile. Alachua County had one confirmed case of West Nile in 2003.

Myers said it is been a particularly bad year for West Nile virus.

“It goes back to the winter of 2011-2012. It was a very mild winter, the mosquito die off was not complete,” he said. “Tropical storm Debby came through and created overwhelming numbers of breeding places for mosquitos.”

Even with the cooler weather, Myers still urges residents to protect themselves

“It’s imminent that I will be lifting the Mosquito Borne Illness Advisory in consultation with the state health office,” he said.

Myers still recommends residents drain any standing water, wear long sleeves and check that window screens are in good repair to ensure protection from mosquitoes.

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