New Jersey health officials say the patient is a 55-year old male from Burlington County who contracted the mosquito borne viral disease while outside gardening.
He was hospitalized and now is at home recovering.
In Pennsylvania, a Montgomery County man and a York County man tested positive for WNV. The Montgomery County patient required hospitalization for his illness.
"Most human cases of West Nile virus typically appear from August through October, and residents should be careful to protect themselves by using insect repellant and staying inside during dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active," said New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd.
O'Dowd adds, "Superstorm Sandy has created many new places for mosquitos to breed, including depressions left by fallen trees and the Department is asking residents to take steps to help limit the mosquito population on their properties by removing standing water where mosquitos may breed."
“Our first positive human case of West Nile Virus serves as a reminder of the importance of prevention and education,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Michael Wolf said.
WNV is spread from humans through the bite of an infected mosquito; mosquitoes can become infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. Most mosquitoes do not carry the virus and most people bitten by a mosquito are not exposed to the virus. The virus is not spread through person-to- person contact, or directly from birds to humans.
In most cases, people who are infected with West Nile virus never become sick, or have only very mild symptoms that include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, and a mild skin rash.
Symptoms of WNV could appear within three to 12 days after infection. Fewer than one in 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito become severely ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In these rare cases, the virus can cause encephalitis and death. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing severe symptoms, which may require hospitalization.
Recovery from any infection with the virus can take months to years and include symptoms of fatigue, malaise, and depression. There is no specific treatment for this disease.
In 2012, all 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to CDC. Of these, 2,873 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,801 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The numbers of neuroinvasive, non-neuroinvasive, and total West Nile virus disease cases reported in 2012 are the highest since 2003.
In 2013, New Jersey and Pennsylvania join Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming as states that have reported human WNV so far this year.
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