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Franklin Co. has fourth case of West Nile

October 18, 2005

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Friday that a fourth person in Franklin County tested positive for West Nile virus but is recovering from the mosquito-borne illness.

The 58-year-old woman was not identified by name or the municipality in which she lives.

The first human case in the county for 2005 was reported Sept. 12 and involved a 51-year-old woman. A 55-year-old man tested positive for the disease Sept. 22 and the department announced Sept. 30 that an 89-year-old woman who died tested positive for the virus.

In the case of the woman who died, the department Web site stated, "the cause of death is not West Nile Virus, though this may have been a contributing factor."

There was one human case in the county in 2004, according to the department.

Sixty-four mosquitoes also have tested positive for the virus this year, according to the Web site. The program to monitor the mosquito population and exterminate mosquito larvae is conducted by the Franklin County Extension Service.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has conducted spraying operations in parts of the county this summer to kill adult mosquitoes, according to the Health Department.

While most people infected with the virus do not become ill, it can result in West Nile Fever for about 5 percent of those infected, according to department figures. About one in every 150 people infected will develop West Nile encephalitis, which can prove fatal.

The elderly and those with suppressed immune systems are most likely to develop symptoms, the department stated.

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