The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced Friday that the county has its first probable human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in 2018. Samples are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing.
The resident, a male in his early 70s who lives in the Municipality of Penn Hills, was bitten in mid-July by a WNVcarrying Culex mosquito. He was hospitalized when he began exhibiting symptoms, but has since been discharged and is recovering at home.
West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites and cases occur mostly during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. WNV is not transmitted from person-to-person.
Between 70-80% of people that become infected with West Nile Virus do not develop any symptoms, and are not impacted in any way. Approximately 20% who become infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with these symptoms will recover completely, and can recover on their own.
Health Department officials urge the public to protect themselves from mosquitoes by getting rid of standing water in yards and neighborhoods, making sure that open window and doors have screens, using insect repellent on exposed skin and minimizing time spent outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Property owners should also cut back hedges, shrubs and other greenery where mosquitoes can find shelter.
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