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State Reports First Positive Human Case of West Nile Virus

The departments of Agriculture, Health and Environmental Protection this week reported the first positive human case of West Nile Virus and the first positive mosquito pool for the 2005 season.

The individual, a 32 -year-old York County female, was hospitalized and is home recovering from the illness.

The mosquito pool was found in Warminster Township, Bucks County.

Last year, 15 cases of human West Nile virus were detected in Pennsylvania, resulting in two fatalities. In 2003, West Nile virus was detected in 237 Pennsylvanians and contributed to the deaths of eight people.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents of areas where virus activity are at risk of getting West Nile encephalitis, however, people over 50 have the highest risk of severe disease.

There are things every individual can do around the home to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas. Some of these tips include:

· Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have collected on your property;

· Pay attention to discarded tires. Stagnant water in tires are where most mosquitoes breed;

· Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;

· Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season;

· Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. Stagnant water in a wading pool becomes a place for mosquitoes to breed;

· Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths. Both provide breeding habitats for domestic mosquitoes;

· Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers; and

· Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

Mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts for more than four days.

For standing water that can’t be eliminated, homeowners can buy Bti products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacteria kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

In addition, here are some simple precautions to prevent mosquito bites, particularly for those individuals who are most at risk:

· Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.

· Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.

· When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.

· Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

For more information, go to the West Nile Virus website.

NewsClips: First West Nile Case Found

Test Results Show First Human Case of West Nile


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