Two human cases of West Nile Virus surface in midstate

Written by Tim Lambert, WITF Multimedia News Director | Sep 8, 2015 1:13 PM

(Harrisburg) -- The midstate's third and fourth human case involving the West Nile virus have been reported.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has confirmed a male in Dauphin County and a male in Lancaster County were infected last month.

"The first human case in our county serves as a reminder for residents to take protective measures and eliminate standing water," Dauphin County Board of Commissioners' Chairman Jeff Haste says. "Although all residents should take the proper precautions when outdoors, people over age 50 have the highest risk of severe infection."

The other two human cases in the region were in York and Cumberland counties.

Across the state, a total of 13 people have been infected with the West Nile Virus this year.

Mosquitoes pass the virus along to humans through bites.

"To reduce the mosquito population and prevent the virus from spreading, the county's West Nile Virus Control Program is increasing surveillance and control measures throughout the area," Dauphin County Commissioner George P. Hartwick says. "These efforts will continue for as long as needed to protect the public."

The infection can potentially be fatal. 

Symptoms can include aches, nausea and a skin rash.

Adams and York counties top the state in the number of cases involving mosquitoes that have tested positive for the virus.

Here are some recommendations to avoid mosquitoes:

-- Buy products with Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis)--a naturally-occurring bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets and plants--for stagnant pools of water in the lawn and garden.

-- Remove any standing water in pots, containers, pool covers, tires, wheelbarrows, wading pools, roof gutters and other containers that hold water.

-- 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.

-- Reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.

-- Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer's instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

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