Health officials on Tuesday reported Philadelphia’s first human case of the West Nile Virus in 2019.
Samples from the infected person are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the illness.
Residents are encouraged to minimize exposure to mosquitoes. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a press release that, “While we encourage Pennsylvanians to enjoy the outdoors, we also want them to take proper precautions from mosquitoes while outside.”
Dr. Levine added, “With the first human case of West Nile Virus detected, we want people to protect themselves. Several simple steps can help protect yourself and loved ones from mosquito-related diseases.”
West Nile Virus is continuously being monitored by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and so far, they have detected West Nile Virus (WNV) infected mosquitoes in 32 counties.
DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a press release that, “Today’s announcement should be a reminder to all Pennsylvanians to use a personal insect repellant or stay indoors during dawn and dusk will help prevent exposure to the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus.”
To protect yourself and others from WNV-infected bugs, Pennsylvanians should be using a DEET-containing insect repellent, cover exposed skin with lightweight clothing. To protect your home, make sure that windows and screens are not damaged.
WNV-infected mosquitoes and non-infected ones alike thrive in stagnant water, so another important precaution is to make sure you eliminate standing water.
The press release listed a few ways to get rid of standing water, and here they are:
• 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.