Avoiding mosquitoes and the threat of West Nile virus

August 03, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) have released alerts pertaining to an increase in West Nile virus (WNV). In Centre County, 16 mosquitoes and six birds have tested positive for the virus this summer. Although Pennsylvania does not yet have any confirmed cases of WNV infections in people, ongoing DOH monitoring demonstrates a significantly higher prevalence of the virus in mosquitoes than in past years. This suggests that the risk of WNV transmission to humans is already high.The virus is contracted by humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

To date, 42 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, and mosquitoes. The CDC has received reports of 241 cases, including four deaths, which is the highest number of cases since 2004. Almost 80 percent of the cases have been reported in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Symptoms of infection often include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most individuals who contract West Nile virus recover on their own. In some individuals serious neurologic illness can result. These individuals may require hospitalization and other care. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems due to illness or chronic health concerns are at greater risk for developing more serious complications.

There is no medication available to treat or prevent West Nile virus. The best way to avoid this disease is to avoid mosquito bites:

-- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors
-- Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk
-- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
-- Use air conditioning, if you have it.
-- Empty standing water from items outside your home such as flowerpots, buckets, and kiddie pools.

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0801_west_nile.html

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 19, 2017