Local News

Taking proper measures to control mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus

Your backyard could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  Dauphin County officials say the first positive sample of West Nile Virus has been collected.

Matt Helwig is a biologist with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  He says, “We go out and set a sample of mosquitoes. Then they’re brough back into the lab and tested for presence on West Nile Virus.”

On May 13th, the first positive sample of the year was detected in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County.

Helwig says, “The sample contains 700 mosquitoes so we broke it down to 7 individual tests and two of them came back infected for West Nile Virus.”

In York County, Tom Smith oversees the West Nile Program.  He keeps the mosquito population under control to prevent the spread of virus to people.

Smith says, “We’re performing area-wide surveillance going out and setting traps to collect adult mosquitoes and any sources producing or breeding mosquitoes in stagnant water, we’re trying to dump them, eliminate them, or treat them so they don’t produce mosquitoes.”

Virus experts throughout Central PA use larvicide to kill mosquitoes before they become adults.  There are also measure you can take.  Smith says, “Make sure you don’t have anything collecting water or holding and many people over look piping on down spouts, which each ripple collects water and produce mosquitoes throughout the summer.”

In addition to maintaining or removing standing water, it’s recommended you wear insect repellent.  You can also take an electric fan outside with you because mosquitoes don’t like wind.

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