Second PA West Nile virus case reported in Montco

Summer may be coming to an end, but mosquitoes are still around, and, as my colleague Don Sapatkin reported Monday, the danger for West Nile virus remains. A second Pennsylvania case in a Montgomery County women was by public health officials Monday. Here's Sapatkin's report:

Montgomery County on Monday reported the second human infection with West Nile virus in Pennsylvania this year, 30-year-old woman who lives in Bridgeport.

The state’s first case — a 69-year-old Philadelphia man — was reported on Aug. 23. No more information was available on either case or on the three human infections reported so far this year in New Jersey, one each in Ocean, Essex and Passaic Counties.

Most people infected with the mosquito-borne virus don’t get sick. About 20 percent get a fever, headache and sometimes a rash; under 1 percent develop serious neurological disease that can be fatal.

First seen in the Western Hemisphere in New York City in 1999, West Nile spread via infected birds to some nearby states in 2000 and then gradually around the country over several years, killing more than 1,000 people and prompting expanded mosquito-control programs. The number of cases has declined in recent years; six deaths have been reported this year nationwide, all in Arizona.

But health authorities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have noticed a resurgence in infected mosquitoes this summer, particularly in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. Insecticide spraying has been stepped up; an area near the band concert stage of Pennypack Park, bounded by Welsh Road, Cresco Avenue, Rhawn Street and Pennypack Creek, is scheduled for dusk on Tuesday.

Health officials have generally urged people to use repellent, wear long sleeves and pants or stay inside at times when mosquitoes are active, and to discard or empty sources of standing water where they breed, such as clogged gutters, buckets and wheelbarrows.

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