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Health, Science & Tech

East End Resident Infected With West Nile Virus, City To Spray Neighborhoods

A culex pipiens mosquito on the hood of a car. According to the Allegheny County Health Department, an elderly woman contracted West Nile Virus from a similar genus of mosquito in the region.

An elderly woman in Pittsburgh’s East End has contracted West Nile Virus, the first reported case in Allegheny County since 2015.

Allegheny County Health Department officials said, while the disease can’t be spread through human contact, infected mosquito activity is higher this summer than in the previous six years.

Karen Hacker, director of the health department, said in a statement that residents should take measures to protect themselves. She suggested wearing insect repellent, protective clothing and dumping out stagnant water where mosquitos breed.

On Tuesday at dusk, the department will spray the neighborhoods of Lawrenceville, Bloomfield and Shadyside with a mosquito pesticide called Zenivex. It is not harmful to humans or pets. 

The infected woman was bit in mid-August by a Culex mosquito, a type of mosquito that commonly carries the virus. The health department said she showed symptoms of the disease, was hospitalized, and has since been released.

Credit Allegheny County Health Department
Allegheny County Health Department

It’s been two years since a human contracted West Nile Virus in Allegheny County. In 2002, four people died from the disease, but more recent cases have not been fatal. 

(Photo credit: Volkmar Beche/Flickr)