The West Nile Virus outbreak is the worst ever in the United States, even though numerous mosquito sprayings have taken place and recent warnings issued, according to the Centers For Disease Control.
The number of cases so far this year is the highest recorded since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999, CNN is reporting.
As of Aug. 21, 38 states had reported human infections. The cases reported to the CDC total 1,118, including 41 deaths.
Lehigh County and Upper Macungie Towship have not been spared. West Nile Virus sickened a Lehigh County man last week.
Twelve mosquitoes have been found with West Nile Virus in Upper Macungie Township, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. Mosquitoes have also tested positive for West Nile in neighboring, Berks, Bucks and Schuylkill counties and Northampton counties.
The Lehigh County West Nile Program conducted an ultra-low volume (ULV) mosquito control operation to reduce high populations of mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile Virus on Tuesday, Aug. 14 in Whitehall and South Whitehall Townships and Wednesday, Aug. 15 in Upper Macungie and Lower Macungie Townships.
An avian bird was found with West Nile Virus in Upper Macungie Township last week, accounting for one of two birds this summer.
Help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas on your property by doing the following:
• Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water.
• Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
• Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
• Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
• Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers.If a resident has stagnant pools of water on their property, they can buy BTI products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
Additionally, these simple precautions can prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:
• Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
• Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
• When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.
• Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.
For more information about West Nile virus and the state’s surveillance and control program, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us.