8:25 PM EDT, August 6, 2012
A Franklin County, Pa., woman is recovering from meningitis related to West Nile virus, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said Monday in a news release.
The woman was hospitalized for the infection that was attributed to West Nile virus, the news release stated.
The woman is now recovering from the illness, according to the release.
“Due to an unprecedented level of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus, the Department of Health strongly urges residents to minimize their exposure to mosquitoes,” officials wrote in the news release.
A Lancaster County, Pa., woman also contracted a milder form of West Nile virus, the news release stated.
These are the first two detected human cases of the West Nile virus in Pennsylvania in 2012.
The health department did not release names or addresses of the women.
Health Secretary Dr. Eli N. Avila recommended that people take steps to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and prevent mosquito bites.
“This is even more important for older Pennsylvanians and people with weakened immune systems, since they are at the greatest risk of severe illness — including encephalitis — if they develop West Nile virus infection,” Avila said in the news release.
According to the news release, statewide sampling shows higher numbers of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes than any other summer since monitoring began a decade ago. Officials said that is likely due to last year’s mild winter.
The risk for West Nile virus infection is highest during August and September, and will not end until the first hard frost, the news release stated.
Mosquitoes breed in areas with standing and stagnant water, including discarded tires, flowerpots and poorly maintained swimming pools.
For more information, go to www.health.state.pa.us or www.westnile.state.pa.us.
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