UPDATE: First West Nile virus death in Penn. reported in Philadelphia

Health officials in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are reminding residents to take measures to avoid mosquito bites after each state reported their first human cases of West Nile virus.

In Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia County was hospitalized due to WNV. He has since recovered. 

Culex mosquito
Culex quinquefasciatus

“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.”  

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.”

In neighboring New Jersey, the confirmed case involves a 49-year-old Gloucester County resident who is recovering at home after being hospitalized.

“Most human cases of West Nile virus typically appear from August through October. To prevent mosquito bites, residents should use insect repellant with DEET and, weather permitting, wear clothing with long sleeves and long pants,” said NJ Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd.

Many people infected with West Nile Virus do not become ill and may not develop symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may be mild or severe, appearing from three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Mild symptoms include flu-like illness with fever, headache, body aches, nausea and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach or back. Severe symptoms include high fever, neck stiffness and swelling of the brain (encephalitis or meningitis) which can lead to coma, convulsions and death.

Preventive measures include avoid mosquito bites by properly and consistently using DEET-containing insect repellents and covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing, ensuring window and door screens are properly maintained and eliminate standing water which serves as mosquito breeding sites. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page