West Nile Virus has shown up fast and furious in Pennsylvania mosquitoes.
The first case of the virus on May 3 was the earliest to be detected since the state began testing in 2000. That was reported in Exeter Township, Berks County.
Mike Krancer, Secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection, says the insects usually don't show up until June, but the unseasonably warm temperatures this year sped things along.
Since then, the numbers have been steadily rising. In Berks County, 33 mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile so far this year. That's higher than the county's total for all of 2011, which was 22. The DEP's West Nile Virus Control Program lists the year-to-year comparisons by county.
- Berks 33 2
- Bucks 35 37
- Chester 28 29
- Delaware 44 95
- Lancaster 42 57
- Lehigh 28 73
- Montgomery 25 38
- Philadelphia 43 45
There have been no human cases in Pennsylvania so far this year. Last week, a Monmouth County teen became the first confirmed human case of West Nile in the state, according to NJToday.net.
Spraying is scheduled in some Pennsylvania counties this week to reduce the risk of humans contracting the virus. On Monday, Berks County will be sprayed. On July 31, Lancaster and Delaware Counties, and on August 1, spraying is scheduled for Lehigh County.
According to the DEP, if adults contract West Nile virus it can cause inflammation of the brain. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk.
Here's a list of precautionary measures to reduce the number of mosquito-breeding areas around your home, from the DEP website. Click here for tips on preventing mosquito bites.
- Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water on your property.
- Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
- Clean clogged roof gutters every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees tend to plug drains.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers.