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Record-breaking year for mosquitoes and West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA -- It’s been a record-breaking year for the number of mosquitoes and West Nile Virus cases statewide. By now, those mosquitoes should be all but gone.

Experts said the mosquitoes haven't been this bad since 2012, which is when the record was broken last.

Olivia Bingeman, the Lancaster and Lebanon County Penn State Extension Mosquito Borne Disease Control Program Coordinator, showed FOX 43 different types of mosquitoes, including the ones that are most likely to carry West Nile Virus.

“Culex pipiens and restuans here,” Bingeman said. “So that's what I see most of.”

According to the Department of Health, there have been 33 total cases of West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania so far this year. Two of them were deaths.

“Yes, it’s very unusual,” Bingeman said. “It’s definitely an issue. Anytime the mosquitoes are out and biting you, it could be a potential harm to you.”

In fact, Bingeman said this time last year, there were only 83 positive mosquito pools in Lancaster County. Now there are 300.

“Normally the mosquitoes kind of stop biting people and decide that this time they’re going to start storing up fat so that they can survive over winter,” Bingeman said. “And that involves not taking blood meal instead eating nectar and things like that.”

She said it's likely because of all of the rain we've had this summer, mixed with the fact that it's still hot outside. All we can do is wait it out and take extra precautions.

“Unfortunately we’ve been doing a lot and obviously hasn’t been enough,” Bingeman said. “But at this point there’s not much we can do about that. We’re going to keep going, we’re going to keep doing adult control as needed, we’re going to keep doing surveillance as needed even though technically the season has already ended.”

Bingeman said the key now is prevention. Use bug spray if you're going to be outdoors, and eliminate any standing water.