Vermont health officials have confirmed that the first case of West Nile virus in a human since 2013 has recently been diagnosed. The infected individual is currently being kept anonymous, however, we do know that he/she lives in Windsor County, Vermont and contracted the virus in mid-June. Health officials in Pennsylvania also confirm that a woman has been diagnosed with what they state as a “probable” case of West Nile virus in Indiana County.
Secretary of Health Karen Murphy of Pennsylvania stated:
“Detecting the first human case serves as a great reminder for Pennsylvanians to take the proper precautions when they are outside or near areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito-related diseases.”
West Nile virus is spread through a bite of an infected mosquito, and although no mosquitoes that have been monitored in Vermont have tested positive for the virus, it is quite clear that some of them are carrying it.
The virus itself often causes no symptoms for about 80 percent of people bitten by mosquitoes. Around 20 percent of people will develop symptoms that include a high fever, muscle aches and fatigue. Around 1 percent will develop a fatal form of West Nile virus, which affects the nervous system. This form of the virus can cause coma, tremors, seizures, disorientation, paralysis and death.
Residents of the two states are warned to stay inside as much as possible during the nighttime, specifically from dusk until dawn, as these are the hours when the mosquitoes are most active. They should also wear long sleeves and long pants whenever possible to avoid contact with the mosquitoes.
Those living in Pennsylvania and Vermont are also recommended to wear mosquito repellent with no more than 30 percent DEET in order to provide accurate protection, however experts warn that DEET should not be worn by children under the age of 2. Lemon eucalyptus essential oils can also be effective in the fight against mosquitoes. Here are 7 more plants that repel mosquitoes naturally.
It is also recommended that residents get rid of standing water, as mosquitoes can breed inside of it.