NJ, PA Report First Cases Of West Nile Virus

West Nile virus has shown up in various counties around Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A Burlington County, NJ man was the first person in the state to be diagnosed this year, according to CBS. The 55-year old man was gardening when he was bitten by an infected mosquito.

Mosquitoes captured and tested from Hanover Township, Lehigh County and Easton, PA showed signs of West Nile virus as well. According to LehighValleyLive.com, more than 500 mosquitoes were carrying the disease this year in the state.The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported cases in Montgomery and York Counties on Friday. So far, 36 Pennsylvania counties have been affected by West Nile virus.

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd released a statement on the Dept. of Health’s website. In it, she offered up several tips on how to protect yourself from bugs and disease. Using bug repellant, staying inside during dawn and dusk as well as maintaining screen doors and windows were just a few tips contained in the statement.

“Most human cases of West Nile usually appear from August through October and residents should be careful to protect themselves,” O’Dowd said. The report also states that 2012 was the most active season for West Nile virus, with 48 cases reported and six deaths. O’Dowd attached some blame to Superstorm Sandy, saying mosquitoes had more places to breed and the storm left a lot of standing water.

On the other hand, a colder spring may have prevented the spread of West Nile in Pennsylvania, said Amanda Witman of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Witman said that the disease was more prevalent last year, but that seasons have “ebbs and flows.”

West Nile virus symptoms include a flu-like illness, with headaches, body aches and fever. Swollen lymph glands and rashes may also appear. Symptoms may not show up for as long as two weeks after a bite from an infected mosquito.