Saturday, June 28, 2008

West Nile Found Outside Lancaster

(previously published here at

Philadelphia - Warm summer weather is the start of many things, including the West Nile season. The second batch of virus-carrying mosquitoes in the Greater Philadelphia area was found yesterday in East Hempfield Township, in Lancaster County. The infected mosquitoes were found in standing water within a series of culverts, said Matt Mercer, interim West Nile virus coordinator for Lancaster Country, to Lancaster Online.

Mosquitoes that had been found at the same spot in previous years were sprayed with insecticide. In 2003, 237 human cases of West Nile virus infections were reported, nine of which proved fatal. Of the total, 37 cases were residents of Lancaster County, two of whom died.

During each of the past two years, nine cases of West Nile virus infections were reported in Philadelphia in humans. Last year, all of those affected recovered, while in 2006, two people died.

This decline in the number of human cases reported in Pennsylvania is good news, and to keep that number down, the Department of Environmental Protection gave Lancaster Country $123,000 this year for virus control efforts.

According to Mr. Mercer, a portion of that money is being used to trap and sample mosquitoes in at least 15 locations each week. Breeding hotspots are injected with a bacteria that prevents larva from maturing and if other areas are found to have a high concentration of adult mosquitoes, they get sprayed as well.

Mr. Mercer says that so far, these methods along with dry weather, "is working out well."

©The Evening Bulletin 2008

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