Pennsylvania’s first probable human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in 2017 has been detected in a Montgomery County resident. The Departments of Health and Environmental Protection strongly recommend that all residents minimize their exposure to mosquitoes.
“Detecting the first human case of West Nile Virus this year serves as a great reminder for Pennsylvanians to take the proper precautions when they are outside or near areas where mosquitoes are prevalent,” Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said. “There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-related diseases.”
WNV is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
There is no specific treatment for WNV infection.
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.
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