Mosquito control scheduled to reduce West Nile virus risk

Local News
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The Blair County Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program will be conducting a truck-mounted ultra-low volume (ULV) mosquito control operation in Hollidaysburg to reduce populations of mosquitoes capable of transmitting West Nile virus.

The treatment will be conducted on Tuesday, September 11. Work will begin around sunset. Signs will be posted the day of the spray to inform local residents. Weather and other unexpected events could delay or cancel this control operation. The alternate date for this spray will be Wednesday, September 12.

Certain mosquito species carry the West Nile virus, which can cause humans to contract West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of contracting the virus.

In 2018, the West Nile virus has been detected in the following counties: Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphine, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montgomery, Montour, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Union, Warren, Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.

Individuals can take the following precautionary measures around their homes to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas:
• Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water.
• 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.
• Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year as the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency 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. If a resident has stagnant pools of water on their property, they can buy BTI products. This naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

There are also precautions people can take to prevent mosquito bites:
• 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.
• 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, picardinor lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

For information about West Nile virus, visit the PA State West Nile web site at www.westnile.state.pa.us.

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