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Human case of West Nile is confirmed

November 03, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A 71-year-old man has been confirmed as having the first case of West Nile virus in Franklin County this year, according to a press release from the Pennsylvania West Nile Encephalitis Surveillance Program.

The unidentified man has recovered from his symptoms, according to the release issued Friday. The same release said that a 55-year-old Allegheny County woman with the disease was recovering at home.

They are the seventh and eighth confirmed cases of the virus in humans in Pennsylvania in 2007, according to the state Department of Health. While most people with the virus experience no symptoms, about 20 percent develop the flulike symptoms of West Nile fever.

West Nile encephalitis can cause swelling of the brain, but only about 1 in 150 infected people come down with this more serious form of infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The disease is spread by certain types of mosquitoes, according to the CDC.

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People older than 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at more of a risk from the disease, according to the CDC.

Besides the one human case, Franklin County has had seven mosquitoes test positive through its testing program, according to the state surveillance program data. Fulton County has had no positive tests of humans, animals, birds or mosquitoes this year.

In 2006, one human case, two in birds and 59 in mosquitoes were confirmed in the county. In 2005, the county had four human cases and 64 positive tests in mosquitoes, according to state figures.

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