ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting the state’s first probable human cases of West Nile Virus infection in 2022.
The virus has been detected in Berks, Lancaster, Luzerne, and Philadelphia counties.
The specimens will be forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.
The departments of Health and Environmental Protection strongly recommend people minimize their exposure to mosquitoes.
Although mosquitoes can bite at any time, the mosquitoes that transmit the virus are most active at dawn and dusk. When outdoors, people can avoid mosquito bites by using DEET-containing insect repellents and covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing. To keep mosquitoes from getting indoors, people should make sure window and door screens are in place and in good condition.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducts regular surveillance and control to manage mosquito populations around the state.
The mosquitoes that transmit WNV breed in areas with standing and stagnant water. These areas can include urban catch basins, clogged gutters, discarded tires, poorly maintained swimming pools, flower pots and other plastic containers.
Steps to eliminate standing water around the home include:
- 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.