West Nile Virus Being Detected in York County Prior to Fourth of July Weekend

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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Vector Management is reporting the first York County mosquito sample testing positive for West Nile Virus.  A sample containing Northern House Mosquitoes (Culex pipiens) collected by Penn State Extension on June 25th in Spring Garden Township has tested positive.  Additional enhanced mosquito surveillance, sampling and larval control is being performed by Penn State Extension in Spring Garden Township.  Recent surveillance performed by Penn State Extension and PA Department of Environmental Protection also indicates high mosquito populations in areas of Conewago Township, East Manchester Township, Manchester Township, North Codorus Township, Penn Township, Springettsbury Township, York City and York Township.

As residents prepare to enjoy the Fourth of July festivities, residents should follow recommendations to reduce being bitten by mosquitoes.  The most common sources of high mosquito populations in urban areas continue to be from trash and yard clutter.  Residents are urged to contact your local municipality to help promote cleaning up to reduce mosquito concerns and disease risk.  Stormwater management systems can sometimes be of concern and are also routinely monitored by Penn State Extension.

Over fourteen years of surveillance in York County indicates that the most common mosquito species in residential areas; the Northern House Mosquito (Culex pipiens) and the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus); are produced primarily from artificial containers left behind by humans.  Artificial containers can be something small like a bottle cap to sometimes as large as a swimming pool with shallow water.  Asian Tiger mosquitoes now take advantage of the corrugate pipe commonly used on downspouts.  Additional containers such as tires, buckets, tarps and roadside trash are preferred by mosquitoes because other predators found in nature that would prey on mosquito larvae are not present.  During periods of drought these containers continue to hold water and produce mosquitoes.  One bucket or tire in someone’s backyard can produce hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes in a year.

The West Nile Virus Program performs area-wide mosquito surveillance throughout York County every two to three weeks.  With warmer weather now upon us, mosquitoes complete their life cycle within seven days.  If your community is not clean and free of yard clutter you will have mosquitoes in your area looking to bite.  Residents should also use repellents when spending time outside.  For individual which don’t like to use repellents we recommend taking an electric fan outside with you.  Mosquitoes don’t like the wind and the fan will help keep many away.  As a last resort residents can purchase insecticides from garden centers and hardware stores to spray in their own yard but be sure to follow the label instructions.  Information about mosquitoes, West Nile and Lyme disease can be found at your local York County Library or by visiting the Penn State Extension York County website at http://extension.psu.edu/york and select Mosquitoes and Ticks under Spotlight.

York County residents can report mosquito concerns through the Pennsylvania West Nile Virus website www.westnile.state.pa.us .  Doing so will better assist our program to document areas of concern.

For information about West Nile Virus symptoms in humans, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health  at 1-877-PA-Health.


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