KDKA correspondent John Shumway recently reported that two Pittsburgh neighborhoods have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, or WNV. As of mid-July 2018, none of the mosquitos that carry the disease have been confirmed in Butler County, although their spread to the north is entirely possible this season.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. However, most people infected with WNV show no symptoms, although about 1 in 5 people will develop a fever along with other symptoms. Fewer than 1 percent of the people infected will develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.
To protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites, you are strongly encouraged to:
- Use a mosquito repellent containing permethrin or DEET while outdoors. When possible, wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent will give extra protection. Don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to your skin.
- Install or repair window screens.
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by:
Disposing of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, bottle caps, or similar water-holding containers that have collected on your property.
Draining discarded tires because stagnant water trapped in tires is a favorite breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Drilling drain holes in the bottom of open bins or containers left outdoors.
Unclogging roof gutters. Clogged roof gutters generate millions of mosquitoes each season.
Turning plastic wading pools upside down when they’re not in use. Stagnant water in a wading pool is a frequent place for mosquitoes to breed.
Turning wheelbarrows upside down and not letting water stagnate in birdbaths. Both provide can breeding habitats for domestic mosquitoes.
Aerating ornamental pools or stocking them with fish that eat mosquito larvae. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools when they’re not in use. A swimming pool left untended for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to infest an entire neighborhood. Mosquitoes can even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
Planting shrubbery to soak up standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in any puddle within just four days.
More information on West Nile virus is available at www.dep.state.pa.us