Editor's note: The information below comes from the Chester County Health Department. According to Betsy Walls, Director of the Bureau of Personal Health Services, the Chester County resident was diagnosed with West Nile Virus after being admitted to the hospital for an unrelated condition.
Chester County Health Department Confirms First Human Case of West Nile Virus
The Chester County Health Department today confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) for 2012 in a 59 year old male from West Nottingham Township. This is the first report of human WNV infection in Chester County since 2008, and prior to that, 2003. The individual was hospitalized and is now recovered.
“The individual has recovered from the infection,” Said Margaret Rivello, Chester County Health Director. “This news serves as a reminder to all Chester County residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their children from mosquito bites.”
So far this year, 98 mosquito samples have tested positive for WNV. In 2011, the county had 29 positive samples for the entire year.
The chance of contracting WNV from an infected mosquito is small and chances of becoming seriously ill are even smaller, however, the Health Department recommends that individuals take personal precautions to minimize the possibility of being bitten by infected mosquitoes.
Take these simple precautions to prevent mosquito bites:
- Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
- Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
- When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during the summer.
- Use insect repellants. An effective repellant will contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always be sure to follow the manufacturer label directions. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellant on children, as repellant is not recommended for children under the age of two months.
The Health Department also recommends the following precautions to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas:
- Dispose of open containers on your property that may collect water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, etc.
- Keep your property clear of old tires or avoid areas where they may be stored.
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers so that water will not collect.
- Clean roof gutters, particularly if leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools when not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
- For stagnant pools of water, homeowners can buy Bti products at lawn/garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacterial product kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
For more information about WNV, visit us at www.chesco.org/health or call 610-344-6752.