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Health: First Cases Of Human West Nile Virus In Pennsylvania And New Jersey; Higher Than Normal Amount Of Mosquitoes Testing Positive For Virus

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stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Pennsylvania and New Jersey have their first human cases of West Nile Virus this year, and they’re both from our area.  3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has the latest.

A 49-year-old resident of Gloucester County, New Jersey was hospitalized and is now recovering from West Nile Virus.  The Pennsylvania case, in Philadelphia, was a man who was also hospitalized and has since recovered.

It’s the height of the mosquito season.  And many are testing positive for West Nile Virus.

“The number of infected mosquito pools that we’ve collected that are infected with West Nile Virus is actually rather high this year, and is continuing to increase,” said Dr. Caroline Johnson, with the Philadelphia Health Department.  She says the risk of getting the virus is expected to increase over the next few weeks, mainly because there are so many infected mosquitoes in the area.

Most people infected with West Nile Virus don’t get sick, about 20 percent have symptoms.

“This can be a very serious infection.  It tends to affect the elderly most often and vulnerable persons who do not have healthy immune systems.  The symptoms are neurologic.  Headache, fever, confusion,” said Dr. Johnson.

Health departments continue to spray to control mosquitoes, but there are steps you can take to protect against them.

“Wear mosquito repellent when you go outside.  Mosquitoes are usually active in the early morning and in the dusk and early evening, so those are the best times to stay inside,” said Dr. Johnson.

Health officials are also asking residents to get rid of any standing water.  That’s where mosquitoes breed.

For information on West Nile Virus, visit: www.westnile.state.pa.us and http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/

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