HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s first probable human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in 2013 have been detected.
A Montgomery County man was hospitalized due to WNV. A York County man has also tested positive for the infection, but was not hospitalized.
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 36 counties.
However, it is likely that WNV is present in other areas as well.
West Nile virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.
You can reduce your risk of being infected with WNV by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection.
Symptoms. Fortunately, most people (70-80%) infected with WNV will have no symptoms.
About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.
Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).
The results of statewide sampling of more than 1 million mosquitoes have indicated relatively low amounts of WNV in that population.
This year, Pennsylvania is seeing localized outbreaks of WNV, as opposed to the statewide outbreak experienced last year.
DEP will continue to survey affected communities to monitor the size and scope of the WNV. When necessary, DEP will conduct larval and adult control activities in order to lessen the threat to human health. These efforts will continue through October.