A Venango County woman is Pennsylvania’s first human West Nile virus (WNV) of 2015, according to state health officials. She required hospitalization for her illness and has since been released and is recovering at home.

West Nile virus
Culex quinquefasciatus

Pennsylvania recorded 13 human WNV cases in 2014.

“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 Karen Murphy said. “There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-related diseases.”

Although mosquitoes can bite at any time of day or night, they 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.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducts regular surveillance and control to manage mosquito populations around the state. So far, DEP has detected WNV-infected mosquitoes in 25 counties.

“DEP monitors the mosquito population across Pennsylvania,” said DEP Secretary John Quigley. “Today’s (July 30) announcement serves as a reminder that all Pennsylvanians should take precautions to protect against mosquitoes. Using a personal insect repellent or staying indoors during dawn and dusk will help prevent exposure to mosquitoes.”

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