Sunday, July 06, 2008

Two Area Parks To Get Sprayed For Mosquitoes

(previously published at

Philadelphia - Two Philadelphia-area parks have been scheduled for insecticide spraying by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, according to a press release yesterday.

The spraying is being done as preventative measure to control adult mosquitoes that can potentially carry the West Nile virus.

Although there have been no reported human infection by the virus in the state this year, authorities are taking no chances given discovery of West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes in Lancaster County last month.

FDR Park, in South Philadelphia surrounded by Broad Street, Pattison Avenue, 26th Street and I-95, is scheduled to be sprayed this evening, while the park is closed. It was chosen for spraying based on samples taken by "Vector Control" staff that have shown a larger than usual adult mosquito population in the area.

The Vector Control staff is responsible for monitoring and protecting the public from carriers of infectious diseases.

Penny Packer Park, in Willingboro, N.J., received insecticide treatment last night.

These mosquitoes have not been identified as carriers of the West Nile virus, but the high concentration was enough to warrant precautionary measures.

The chemical treatments are administered via a truck-mounted vehicle that sprays a fine mist of aerosol droplets, which stays in the air and kills mosquitoes on contact. The chemical spray is called Anvil 2 + 2, a synthetic pyrethroid, and has no residual effects or other negative effects on human health, and evaporating into the atmosphere.

Certain mosquito species are capable of carrying the virus, which if transmitted to people can cause West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain.

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.

In 2003, 237 human cases of West Nile virus infections were reported, nine of which proved fatal.

Individuals and families have many precautionary options available around the home to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, which tend to be areas of water that sit untouched for any extended period of time.

These measures include the cleaning of roof gutters and bird baths, the chlorination or inclusion of fish in swimming pools, and the disposal of tin cans, plastic containers or any water-holding containers around your house.

Complementary steps can be taken to prevent mosquito bites, as well. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors during dawn or dusk is a common precaution, as are the use of tight screens over doors and windows and the use of insect repellents that include DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, although repellent is only recommended for children older than two months.

Heather J. Chin can be reached at

©The Evening Bulletin 2008

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