The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 14, 2013

State confirms first West Nile virus death of year


The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — A Bucks County resident is the state’s first person to die from West Nile virus this year, according to state officials.

The Department of Environmental Protection reported the death on Friday. The agency did not release the person’s name or address, but the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the man began exhibiting symptoms Aug. 20.

State officials have recorded at least six human cases of West Nile virus this year. The cases have occurred in five counties, including Philadelphia and Delaware, York and Montgomery counties.

The virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that can pick it up from infected birds. It can lead to encephalitis, a dangerous inflammation of the brain. Older people and those with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk.

The first human cases of the year were reported in August. Meanwhile, the DEP has found West Nile-infected mosquitoes in dozens of Pennsylvania counties.