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Health

Allegheny County announces first West Nile case of 2017

Ben Schmitt
| Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, 10:57 a.m.
Allegheny County Health Department said it plans to treat 8,500 catch basins to reduce the risk of West Nile virus being transmitted through mosquito bites.
Courtesy of James Gathany/CDC
Allegheny County Health Department said it plans to treat 8,500 catch basins to reduce the risk of West Nile virus being transmitted through mosquito bites.

A Pittsburgh woman has tested positive for West Nile virus, marking the first case in Allegheny County this year, health officials announced Tuesday.

A mosquito bit the East End resident in mid-August, according to the Allegheny County Health Department.

She was hospitalized after showing symptoms but has since been discharged. Officials in a news release described her as "elderly." They did not release her age or identify the neighborhood where she lives.

The species of mosquitoes carrying West Nile usually bite at dawn and dusk. Health experts recommend people use insect repellent containing DEET to avoid bites. A West Nile infection can sometimes result in brain inflammation.

About one in five people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Department of Environmental Protection has detected West Nile-infected mosquitoes in 36 counties this year, including Westmoreland and Allegheny.

County staff will be spraying at dusk Tuesday in Shadyside, Bloomfield and Lawrenceville to protect residents. The county plans to use Zenivex, a pesticide that kills mosquitoes but is not harmful to people and pets.

West Nile Virus has been frequently found in the county since 2002 during the mosquito season of April through November. No deaths have been reported since four victims died in 2002, officials said. The most recent cases in Allegheny County were in 2015, when 3 people were infected.

Earlier this month, a Montgomery County resident became the first person in Pennsylvania to test positive for West Nile virus this year.

More information on WNV including frequently asked questions about prevention, symptoms, transmission and more can be found at http://www.achd.net/factsheet/wnv.html .

Staff writer Theresa Clift contributed. Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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