First human West Nile Virus case of 2014 reported

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s first probable human case of West Nile Virus infection in 2014 has been detected, the Department of Health reported recently. A Philadelphia County man was hospitalized due to WNV and has since recovered.

The departments of Health and Environmental Protection strongly recommend that all residents minimize their exposure to mosquitoes.

“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 Michael Wolf 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. The Department of Health says, 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.

Simple steps to eliminate standing water, which serves as breeding grounds for mosquitos, around the home include:

Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.

Have roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains.

Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

Do not let water stagnate in birdbaths.

Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with fish.

Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and remove standing water from pool covers.

Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated with Bti products which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

For a fact sheet on WNV, visit the Department of Health’s website at and click on “What’s Hot,” then “West Nile Virus Fact Sheet.”