First Human Case of West Nile Virus Reported Since 2021

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Close up macro disgusting mosquito biting human skin

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has identified the first human case of West Nile virus in Allegheny County since 2021.

The resident, a female in her 70s, lives in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood and was briefly hospitalized before being released to recover at home. To protect the patent’s privacy, no further information will be released by the ACHD regarding her condition or recovery.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported seven other cases of West Nile virus this year to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Health Department has set up additional mosquito traps in the Squirrel Hill area as part of its West Nile surveillance efforts. Additionally, the program has treated five targeted areas where West Nile has been detected with a mosquito pesticide called Zenivex E20. The pesticide is not harmful to humans or pets.

According to the CDC, between 70 and 80 percent of people that become infected with West Nile virus do not develop symptoms and are not impacted. Approximately 20 percent who become infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. 

Most people with symptoms can recover on their own. Less than 1 percent of people infected with the virus will develop severe symptoms of neurologic illness caused by inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues. Anyone who believes they or someone they know has West Nile virus should consult a health care provider for evaluation and diagnosis.

The ACHD urges residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes by removing standing water in yards, making sure that open windows and doors have screens, and using insect repellent on exposed skin, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. When used as directed, insect repellent is the best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Complaints regarding properties with stagnant water can be reported here.

For more information on the West Nile virus, including frequently asked questions about prevention, symptoms and transmission, visit the CDC’s webpage on the disease.

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