State health officials confirm first human case of West Nile Virus this year

Philadelphia Department of Health confirmed Tuesday the first human case of West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania this year.

This news comes along with word from the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency that West Nile Virus "activity" has been discovered in at least 57 of 67 counties across the state.

The agency notes all counties in southeastern Pennsylvania are among those where virus activity was detected. 

Health officials are working to control the mosquitos throughout the city and advise residents to take precautions to combat the virus.

"We all have a role in preventing the spread of West Nile virus," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. "It's easy to do: wear mosquito repellent and dump out standing water."

Other precautionary measures the department suggests includes wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants, staying inside during dawn and dusk, and keeping well-fitted screens on windows and doors.

The state health department describes West Nile Virus as a neurologic infection that is spread by infected mosquitoes biting humans.

"A majority of people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not develop symptoms, however, one in five individuals will develop fever and flu-like symptoms."

In Philadelphia, the number of positive cases has fluctuated between 0 cases and 24 cases since 2001. That pattern has continued over the last three years in the city with three cases in 2017 and 17 cases in 2018.