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PA's First West Nile Positive Sample of 2009 Discovered in York County
Date:5/14/2009

State Officials Remind People to Eliminate Standing Water to Reduce Risk of Disease

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State officials today reported the first finding of West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania of 2009 -- the earliest in years -- and reminded residents of steps they can take to reduce the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito.

The Department of Environmental Protection's West Nile Virus program reports the first positive result was found in an American crow collected in Springettsbury Township, York County. This is the second-earliest reported evidence of West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania since 2003, when West Nile virus was identified in late April of that year.

In 2008 West Nile virus was detected in 37 counties. Human infections primarily occur in late summer and early fall. In 2008 there were 14 persons diagnosed with West Nile infection with one death. This represents an increase from the two previous seasons.

In 2003 there were 237 confirmed human cases with nine deaths. In 2004, Pennsylvania began an integrated pest management program that led to better identifying and controlling the mosquito population. Since then, there have not been more than 25 confirmed human cases in any given year.

However, a budget bill recently proposed and passed by Senate Republicans would cut $1.9 million from the West Nile virus program, which would make DEP unable to maintain the level of surveillance and treatment it has provided in previous years.

"The fact that West Nile virus was found early this year means that now is the time to start taking steps to reduce your risk of infection," said Health Secretary Everette James. "It's never too early to start thinking about using insect repellants containing DEET and cover exposed skin to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes."

While most people do not get sick when infected with West N
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
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