Pennsylvania health officials reported the first human West Nile virus (WNV) case of 2019 in a resident from Philadelphia.
“While we encourage Pennsylvanians to enjoy the outdoors, we also want them to take proper precautions from mosquitoes while outside,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “With the first human case of West Nile Virus detected, we want people to protect themselves. Several simple steps can help protect yourself and loved ones from mosquito-related diseases.”
“Today’s announcement should be a reminder to all Pennsylvanians to use a personal insect repellant or stay indoors during dawn and dusk will help prevent exposure to the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus,” said Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “DEP monitors mosquito populations across Pennsylvania for the presence of disease.”
Although mosquitoes can bite at any time of the day or night, the mosquitoes that transmit WNV 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.
Nationally, 468 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC, including 21 deaths.
WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.