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2018 West Nile Virus Season in Pennsylvania

Post Date:07/27/2018 8:51 AM

Please see the information below shared earlier this week by the PA Department of Health about the current West Nile Virus Season in Pennsylvania. We are experiencing unprecedented mosquito activity in Chester County. Click here to find out how you can assist in keeping yourself and your homes a “bite free zone”and ensuring parks, open space, etc. are free of standing water. 

PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH 2018– PAHAN –417–07-24- ADV

2018 West Nile Virus Season in Pennsylvania 

DATE:

July 24, 2018

TO:

Health Alert Network

FROM:

Rachel Levine, MD, Secretary of Health

SUBJECT:

2018 West Nile Virus Season in Pennsylvania

DISTRIBUTION:

Statewide

LOCATION:

Statewide

STREET ADDRESS:

n/a

COUNTY:

n/a

MUNICIPALITY:

n/a

ZIP CODE:

n/a

 

Summary

  • WNV-positive mosquito pool counts are at an all-time high this season
  • Health care providers should have a heightened clinical suspicion for West Nile infection in persons with clinically compatible symptoms 

As of July 23, 2018, routine seasonal monitoring conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance program has detected 1,109 WNV-infected mosquito samples and two WNV-infected birds from 43 counties throughout the Commonwealth. WNV-positive mosquito pool counts are higher at this point in the season than in any other year since surveillance began in 2000. Risk of human WNV infection is likely to remain elevated over the next several months. Additional surveillance data is available at http://www.westnile.state.pa.us/surv.htm

DOH would like to remind health care providers to consider the diagnosis of arboviral infection in persons presenting with undifferentiated febrile illness or signs of meningoencephalitis, to ask about recent travel history, and to collect appropriate diagnostic specimens.  All arbovirus infections (e.g., infections due to West Nile, dengue, chikungunya, Zika, Powassan, etc.) are reportable to DOH within 24 hours in Pennsylvania. 

EPIDEMIOLOGY OF WEST NILE VIRUS INFECTIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA

In Pennsylvania, WNV is the most commonly reported locally-acquired arbovirus and is most commonly seen during the months of July through September.  Risk continues until the first hard frost. Most human WNV infections (80%) are asymptomatic. Approximately 20% of infections result in a non-specific febrile illness (West Nile fever), and <1% infections develop into severe neuroinvasive disease (e.g., meningitis, encephalitis, acute flaccid paralysis, etc.). Neuroinvasive disease is more likely to occur in patients >50 years of age or those with compromised immunity.

More information on West Nile Virus can be found here.

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