The state’s West Nile Virus count stands at five with three more confirmed cases added this week. The new cases involve two men in Delaware County and a woman in Centre County. The earlier cases were in Franklin and Lancaster Counties. Both were women.
Amanda Witman, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, says more than 18 hundred mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus, which is a very high infection rate. She says Pennsylvania is on track to exceed the highest year ever.
DEP is asking people to eliminate standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds. Witman says it only takes a teaspoon of water for a mosquito to begin breeding and some areas that collect water are not as easy to detect. Those include flower pots, cracks in sidewalks, recycle bins, dips in the driveway and partially clogged gutters.
Witman says if you have an area of poor drainage where eliminating standing water is difficult, BTI tablets can be placed in the water to eliminate mosquito larvae. She says BTI is safe for home use and has a low toxicity profile for humans and animals. She says it’s actually made from a soil bacterium.
Witman adds that the web site, www.westnile.state.pa.us, is a good resource for information on the virus, from the latest statistics for tips on reducing mosquito bite risk.
For point of comparison, Texas has already had 381 confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus this year and Mississippi and Louisiana have reported at least 60 cases each.