(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The Erie County Department of Health has found West Nile virus in mosquitoes in Erie County. It’s the first group of mosquitoes to test positive for the virus in Erie County this year.
No human cases have been reported in Erie County, the department said.
The mosquitoes were collected in northwest Erie on July 27. The area will be monitored, and control work may be undertaken.
Anybody can catch the virus. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of developing severe illness, the department cautioned. Additional information about West Nile virus can be found online.
The Erie County Department of Health recommended two broad ways to prevent West Nile virus: preventing bites and reducing the number of mosquitoes.
To prevent bites, the department recommends: using insect repellants with DEET; using proper outdoor lighting (incandescent lights attract mosquitoes, and fluorescent lights neither attract nor repel them); using chemical treatments for standing water (such as “mosquito dunks”); having tight window and door screens; using fans at outdoor events to repel mosquitoes with high winds.
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To prevent mosquitoes around homes, the department recommends: disposing of anything that can hold standing water (like cans, containers, and used tires); drilling holes in the bottoms of recycling containers and checking uncovered junk piles; cleaning gutters and checking storm drains, leaking faucets and window wells; emptying standing water from wheelbarrows, boats, trailers, toys and ceramic pots, and turn them over when not in use; and aerating and/or treating water where possible.