West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes throughout southeastern Pennsylvania this year, but not yet here in Erie County.
The Erie County Department of Health is responsible for the control of West Nile Virus in Erie County.
West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis — brain inflammation — and is typically spread by the bite of a mosquito. West Nile Virus was first detected in North America in 1999 and found in Pennsylvania in 2000. Prior to that, it had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia, according to the Pennsylvania DEP.
The CDC reports there are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the virus in people.
Most people infected with the virus do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness, according to the CDC.
The virus is monitored by trapping mosquitoes and collecting dead birds, and is controlled by eliminating standing water.
You can reduce your risk of contracting the virus by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.
High populations of adult mosquitoes capable of transmitting the virus were detected and spraying was conducted in the following areas:
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