First West Nile sickness of year in Pa.

A Venango County woman has become Pennsylvania's first human West Nile virus case of 2015.

The state Department of Health says the woman was hospitalized, but is now recovering at home.

With the number of positive tests in mosquitoes is increasing, state officials urge residents to ramp up efforts to minimize their exposure.

"Detecting the first human case serves as a great reminder for Pennsylvanians to take the proper precautions when they are outside or near areas where mosquitoes are prevalent," Secretary of Health Karen Murphy said.

Mosquitoes can bite at any time day or night, but are more active at sun-up and sundown.

If you are outside, you can avoid bites by keeping skin covered with lightweight clothing, and consistently using insect repellents containing DEET.

Also, check window and door screens to make sure there are no gaps/

Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus love areas with standing and stagnant water, such as catch basins, clogged gutters, discarded tires, poorly maintained swimming pools, flower pots and other types of plastic containers.

To eliminate standing water around the home:

* Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.

* Have roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains.

* Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

* Do not let water stagnate in birdbaths.

* Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with fish.

* Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and remove standing water from pool covers.

* Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

* Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated with Bti products which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

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