Erie County mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

Local News

The Erie County Department of Health has confirmed a mosquito group from Harborcreek Township has tested positive for West Nile virus.

This is the first mosquito pool to test positive in Erie County in 2019. At this time no human cases have been reported in Erie County.

Additional monitoring for mosquitoes will be done in the area where the mosquito group was collected. Appropriate control work will be conducted, depending on the number and types of mosquitoes that are found.

Certain species of mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, which, when transferred to people, can cause West Nile encephalitis. This is an infection that can cause inflammation to the brain.

Anyone is able to contract the virus, but older adults and people with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of developing severe illness, because their bodies have a harder time fighting off disease.

The public can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their home and neighborhood by eliminating standing water, where mosquitoes breed.

Erie County Department of Health has released these guidelines to reduce the number of mosquitoes:

  • Dispose of any refuse that can hold water, such as tin cans, containers, and in particular used tires. Tires have become the most important mosquito breeding ground in the country.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers, and check uncovered junk piles.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters every year, and check storm drains, leaky faucets, and window wells.
  • Empty accumulated water from wheelbarrows, boats, cargo trailers, toys, and ceramic pots. If possible, turn them over when not using them.
  • Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths, ornamental pools, water gardens, and swimming pools or their covers. Ornamental pools can be aerated or stocked with fish. Swimming pools should be cleaned and chlorinated when not in use.
  • Products such as “mosquito dunks” can be obtained from garden centers.
  • Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight.”
  • Use proper type of light outside: incandescent lights attract mosquitoes, while florescent lights neither attract nor repel mosquitoes.
  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening when mosquitoes are most active. If you must go outdoors, wear a long sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Insect repellents with Deet, when applied (sparingly) to exposed skin, deter mosquitoes from biting. Spray thin clothing with repellent since mosquitoes can bite through it. Be sure to follow all directions on product labels.
  • Mosquitoes are repelled by high winds, so electric fans may provide some relief at outdoor events.

More information is available at www.westnile.state.pa.us.

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