South Whitehall Twp. Mosquito Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

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The second mosquito to test positive for West Nile virus in the Lehigh Valley this season has been found in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania’s West Nile Virus Control Program confirmed Monday.

The first mosquito to test positive for it was found in Allentown a week ago.

Also on Monday, four more cases of the virus were confirmed in mosquito samples taken in Philadelphia, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, which administers the program.mosquito west nile virus

That brings the total number of confirmed mosquito cases in Philadelphia this summer to 13.

To date this year no mosquitoes have tested positive for the West Nile virus in Northampton County, however there have been positive mosquito samples collected in Bucks County as well as Berks and Delaware counties within the past few weeks.

No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Pennsylvania thus far in 2019.

The number of reported cases typically rises as summer progresses, peaking late in the season.

West Nile virus can cause a variety of symptoms in humans, including headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash, although most infected people (about 80 percent) do not develop any symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

In rare cases, the virus can lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord). Among people who develop these serious symptoms approximately one in 10 will die, according to the CDC.

“Severe illness can occur in people of any age; however, people over 60 years of age are at greater risk,” the CDC says. “People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk.”

The CDC recommends using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside to help avoid contact with mosquitoes which could be carrying the virus.

Find tips here about what kinds of mosquito repellent to use, and how to apply it.

The CDC also recommends adopting the following measures to help control the mosquito population in and around your home or place of business:

  • Use window and door screens and repair any holes in screens to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use air conditioning when possible.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened-in rooms are not available or if you are sleeping outside.
  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs near water. Once a week, turn over, cover or throw away any items that hold standing water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots and trash containers.

Local residents can register to receive email notifications whenever a new list of sampling results is published on the PA West Nile Virus Control Program website.

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