More mosquitos test positive for West Nile Virus in Harrisburg

The Dauphin County West Nile Virus Control Program discovers more mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus in the City of Harrisburg. The new samples that tested positive for the virus were collected Tuesday near the Prospect Hill Cemetery.

The Dauphin County West Nile Virus Control Program will increase its surveillance in the city. The city is working closely with county officials to monitor the situation and prevent the virus from spreading.

No cases of humans being infected with the virus have been reported in Dauphin County.

When the first discovery of the infected mosquitoes was made on July 23, Capital Region Water teams used bleach to clean water inlets to kill larvae that may be in stagnant water.

The virus can cause encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents of areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of getting West Nile encephalitis.

Although the risk of contracting WNV from an infected mosquito is small, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are advised to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus.

Residents are urged to take the following precautions:

  • Use products with Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) — a naturally-occurring bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets and plants — for stagnant pools of water in the lawn and garden.
  • Remove any standing water in pots, containers, pool covers, tires, wheelbarrows, wading pools, roof gutters and other containers that hold water.
  • 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, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
  • 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, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

To learn more about WNV and prevention, visit the CDC’s Web site at www.cdc.gov/westnile.

For more information about Dauphin County’s WNV Control Program, contact Christopher Hooper, program coordinator, at 717-921-8100.

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