PA’s First West Nile Positive Sample of 2009 Discovered in York County
State Officials Remind People to Eliminate Standing Water to Reduce Risk of Disease
The Department of Environmental Protection’s West Nile Virus program reports the first positive result was found in an American crow collected in Springettsbury Township,
In 2008 West Nile virus was detected in 37 counties. Human infections primarily occur in late summer and early fall. In 2008 there were 14 persons diagnosed with West Nile infection with one death. This represents an increase from the two previous seasons.
In 2003 there were 237 confirmed human cases with nine deaths. In 2004,
However, a budget bill recently proposed and passed by Senate Republicans would cut
“The fact that West Nile virus was found early this year means that now is the time to start taking steps to reduce your risk of infection,” said Health Secretary
While most people do not get sick when infected with West Nile virus, a small percentage of those exposed will experience a fever, rash, headache, meningitis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Everyone is at risk, but older adults and people with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of developing severe illness because their bodies have a harder time fighting off disease.
While DEP and county West Nile coordinators will again be conducting statewide monitoring and spraying programs this year, DEP Secretary
“Standing water can quickly become a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Hanger said. “So dump it if it has water in it; drain it if it can be drained; and treat it if it has standing water. By taking these simple actions in your own backyard, you can eliminate those breeding areas and reduce your chances of contracting the virus.”
Tips to eliminate standing water include:
- Throw away tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water–holding containers that have accumulated on property.
- Pay special attention to discarded tires, which can hold stagnant water.
- Maintain drainage holes that are located on the sides of gardening containers that might allow enough water to collect for mosquitoes to develop.
- Clean clogged roof gutters as needed.
- Turn over plastic wadding pools, wheelbarrows and birdbaths when not in use.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stick them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
For more information, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us.
CONTACT: John Repetz (DEP) (717) 787-1323 Stacy Kriedeman (Health) (717) 787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection