Nile Virus Human Case of 2014
August 12, 2014
HARRISBRG- Pennsylvania’s first probable human case of
West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in 2014 has been detected. A Philadelphia
County man was hospitalized due to WNV. He has since recovered.
The departments of Health and
Environmental Protection strongly recommend that all residents minimize their
exposure to mosquitoes.
“Detecting the first human case
serves as a great reminder for Pennsylvanians to take the proper precautions
when they are outside or near areas where mosquitoes are prevalent,” Secretary
of Health Michael Wolf said. “There are some simple steps you can take to
protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-related diseases.”
Although mosquitoes can bite at any
time of day or night, they are most active at dawn and dusk. When outdoors,
people can avoid mosquito bites by properly and consistently using DEET-containing
insect repellants and covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing. To keep
mosquitoes from entering a home, make sure window and door screens are in place
and are in good condition.
Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) conducts regular surveillance and control to manage mosquito
populations around the state. So far, DEP has detected WNV-infected mosquitoes
in 32 counties. However, it is likely that WNV is present in other areas as
“As always, we encourage
Pennsylvanians to take caution and reduce their risk for mosquito bites,” DEP
Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. “Using a personal insect repellant or
staying indoors during dawn and dusk will help prevent exposure to mosquitoes.”
The mosquitoes that transmit WNV
breed in areas with standing and stagnant water. These areas can include urban
catch basins, clogged gutters, discarded tires, poorly maintained swimming
pools, flower pots and other types of plastic containers.
Simple steps to eliminate standing
water around the home include:
- Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots,
discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water. Drill
holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
- Have roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if
the leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when
not in use.
- Do not let water stagnate in birdbaths.
- Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and remove
standing water from pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that
collects on your property.
- Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated with Bti
products which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement and other
stores. Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae, but is
safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
DEP will continue to survey affected
communities to monitor WNV. When necessary, DEP will conduct larval and adult
control activities to reduce the risk to human health. These efforts will
continue through fall.
For a fact sheet on WNV, including
symptoms, please visit the Department of Health’s webpage, www.health.state.pa.us,
and click on “West Nile Virus Fact Sheet” under “What’s Hot.”
For more information, including
current test results for mosquitoes, birds and horses, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us
and click on the Pennsylvania map for WNV data tables, or call 877-PA HEALTH.