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Dauphin County reports first human case of West Nile Virus

Dauphin County is considered a high risk area after the county reported its first case of West Nile Virus. It’s the second known case this season in Pennsylvania.

31 mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Dauphin County which is slightly higher than this time last year. Officials say the prevalence of mosquitoes is the same in the city as the suburbs and rural areas. But Derry Township has a higher number. This week the county reported its first human case. A man over 60 was infected sometime in July. County officials say he’s doing okay, but tell FOX43 they are not sure if he is still in the hospital.

Pennsylvania Physician General Carrie DeLone says the virus gets dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and when you get something called encephalitis.

“That’s an inflammation of the brain which can cause seizures, blindness, paralysis, numbness and those are the people that can actually die from the disease,” says DeLone.

First Case of West Nile Virus Reported in Dauphin CountyDeLone says 80% of people who have the virus don’t even know. Mild symptoms are flu-like. But there’s ways to protect yourself. Dauphin County West Nile Virus coordinator Chris Hooper says it’s important to do so… especially after this week’s rain.

“To prevent the spread, the best thing you can do is to eliminate any standing water but in general places that fill up flood water like this there is nothing we can do,” says Hooper.

Hooper says a canal in Halifax Township is a possible breading area for large amounts of mosquitoes. He came and set out traps which he’ll take to the lab tomorrow to see if they test positive for West Nile Virus. Hooper says setting traps in areas like canals is routine for the county. He says to his knowledge the county won’t add any new traps despite someone testing positive for the disease.

“We have trapped hundreds of sites throughout the entire county that we set. Some have been known in the past to breed mosquitoes, some are new complaints every year,” says Hooper.