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Cumberland County finds first case of West Nile virus this year in Dickinson Township

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Cumberland County’s Vector Control Office reported Monday that it was notified of a positive West Nile virus sample in a mosquito that was collected in Dickinson Township.

The office was notified by the state Department of Environmental Protection, and the sample marks the first positive sample this year in the county. The county has already conducted 59 mosquito control treatments this year.

“Our office has already conducted mosquito spraying in Dickinson Township to help reduce the mosquito population,” said John Bitner, Cumberland County chief of vector control. “We will continue to monitor this area and utilize mosquito control throughout the county when needed.”

The Vector Control Office also recommends that residents help keep down the mosquito population. That includes eliminating stagnant water around the home and treating water sources that cannot be drained with mosquito dunks or bits that contain Bti to kill larvae.

People can reduce the likelihood of being bitten by using mosquito repellants, wearing long sleeves and pants, taking precautions around dusk during peak female mosquito feeding and securing window and door screens to prevent them from coming into the home.

The Vector Control Office said West Nile virus can be transmitted to animals and humans, but is not spread by person-to-person contact. One in five people infected with the virus will develop a mild infection called West Nile fever that involves aches, fever, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes, according to the office. With rest and fluids, most people will recover in a few days.

Less than 1% of infections will develop into West Nile encephalitis, which includes symptoms of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, disorientation, tremors and convulsions. This would require immediate medical treatment.

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