West Nile Virus Mosquito Samples Test Positive in Baldwin Area
Dozens of cases of the West Nile Virus have been found in mosquitoes around western Pennsylvania over the past two months.
Dozens of cases of the West Nile Virus have been found in mosquitoes around western Pennsylvania over the past two months, but no humans have been infected yet.
Allegheny, Washington, Beaver and Fayette counties are currently considered "high risk" areas in Pennsylvania, according to state regulators.
A sample of mosquitoes in Baldwin Borough tested postive on July 26.
Other areas that have been impacted are the City of Pittsburgh, with dozens of reports, and Wilkinsburg Borough, with nine cases since July 3. Other areas that have had sporadic positive tests are Bridgeville Borough, Collier Township, Emsworth Borough, Sewickley Borough and Leetsdale Borough (July 19), Ross Township (July 17), Peters Township (July 25 and 26) and Bethel Park (July 26).
Allegheny County Health Department officials said that there's no reason to panic, however, because West Nile cases are somewhat common during the summer and no humans have been infected. Still, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials are offering easy ways to combat the problems.
The state suggests that residents dispose of anything that can hold stagnant water, including discarded tires or pots, which mosquitoes can use to breed. Children's backyard pools should be turned upside down, and bird baths need to be regularly cleaned.
If the West Nile Virus is found in your area, easy ways to prevent contracting the disease are wearing shoes, socks, long-sleeved shirts and pants while outdoors for long periods of time. Also, use mosquito repellent if needed and wash clothing and skin when returning indoors.
According to the state, 20 percent of people who become infected will develop a mild case of West Nile fever symptoms, which include fever, headache and body aches, with some skin rashes on the body and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms usually subside in a few days.
Severe cases of infection include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and even paralysis. The state estimates that 1 in 150 people infected with the West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of disease, which usually lasts for weeks and can sometimes be permanent.
Go to http://www.westnile.state.pa.us to learn more about the West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania.
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