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Norristown, PA (Aug. 29, 2018) – The Montgomery County Office of Public Health (OPH) is currently investigating two probable cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in humans. The first is a 59-year old resident of Montgomery Township and the second is a 66-year old resident of Lower Merion Township. Both cases are pending confirmation testing through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There were 16 confirmed human cases of WNV throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2016. Of that number, two were Montgomery County residents.
OPH and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) mosquito-borne disease surveillance and control programs are seeing higher than usual counts of WNV-infected mosquitos this season throughout our county, and the Commonwealth. Risk of human WNV infection is likely to remain elevated over the next several months.
OPH is targeting areas within the county where disease-carrying mosquitoes could pose a risk to human health for pesticide spraying. OPH will continue to conduct adult mosquito control events throughout the summer season; however, due to the extensive and widespread detection of WNV-infected mosquitoes throughout Montgomery County, some areas may not receive adult mosquito control. Therefore, during this active mosquito season, OPH is reminding residents to take a few simple steps to protect themselves from insect bites and prevent the spread of insect-borne disease.
Important steps include eliminating mosquito breeding areas such as standing water around your home, avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito times, wearing protective clothing, and using insect repellent to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
In Pennsylvania, WNV is the most commonly reported locally-acquired arbovirus and is most commonly seen during the months of July through September. Risk continues until the first hard frost. While most human WNV infections (80 percent) do not produce obvious symptoms, some cases can experience mild flu-like symptoms, which can lead to a more serious condition involving swelling of the brain, muscle convulsions, coma, paralysis and death (neuro-invasive diseases).
Some individuals and groups are at higher risk for severe illness including neuro-invasive disease:
Below are steps you can take to reduce your risk of contracting WNV:
For more information on WNV disease please contact OPH Department 610-278-5117 or visit the OPH Web Site: http://www.montcopa.org/health