The number of human West Nile virus (WNV) cases in Pennsylvania has reached seven as Philadelphia has recorded the first fatality due to the mosquito borne virus this year.
According to a Philly.com report, the resident who died, a man in his 80s, became ill Sept. 1 and his death was reported this past Tuesday.
Of the seven cases recorded in Pennsylvania, 6 were of the more serious neuroinvasive variety (meningitis/encephalitis), according to the Department of Health. Philadelphia has seen 4 cases so far in 2014.
In 2013, Pennsylvania reported 11 cases of WNV, while in 2012 they saw 60 cases.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
As of October 14, a total of 47 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. Overall, 1,444 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 830 (57%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 614 (43%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page