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September 21, 2018

Eleven cases of West Nile Virus reported in Philly

Illness West Nile Virus
mosquito Pexels/for PhillyVoice

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Eleven people in Philadelphia have contracted West Nile Virus this year, the city health department announced Friday afternoon.

None of the cases have been fatal.

West Nile Virus is a neurologic infection spread by infected mosquitoes. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the highest level of virus activity within monitored mosquito populations has been seen since the disease was introduced here in 2000.

Most people infected with the virus do not develop symptoms. About 20 percent develop a fever and flu-like symptoms. Only one in 150 people will develop an infection serious enough to lead to death.

Philadelphia has not recorded more than 24 human cases in any particular year since 2001. Last year, only three human cases were reported.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley issued a statement Friday urging residents to wear mosquito repellent and dump standing water, which is essential to breeding.

Anyone who experiences unexplained headaches, weakness or fatigue should contact their primary care physician.

The Philadelphia Health Department has treated more than 57,000 storm drain inlets with larvicide to prevent mosquito breeding. The department also has conducted four aerosol sprays to kill adult mosquitoes in areas where West Nile Virus is known to occur.

Health officials urged residents to wear insect repellent that contains either DEET, Picardin, eucalyptus oil or PMD. People should consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when weather permits. Staying indoors at dawn, dusk and early evening – when mosquitoes are most active – will help prevent bites.

Residents can call the department's mosquito complaint hotline at 215-685-9000 to report mosquito problems.