Two more mosquito samples from Upper Macungie Township have tested positive for West Nile Virus, state officials said Monday.
Last week, a dead bird as well as mosquito samples from the township tested positive.
This year, Pennsylvania reported the earliest detection of a West Nile virus-carrying mosquito since testing began in 2000. There is no human vaccine for the virus.
Residents are urged to reman vigilant about removing standing water where mosquitoes can breed on their property. Aerial spraying to knock down mosquitoes took place in Allentown on Sunday and is planned for Bethlehem on Wednesday morning.
The best defense is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water around homes, weeds, tall grass, shrubbery and discarded tires.
- Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water on your property.
- Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water.
Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed so residents should:
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
- Have roof gutters cleaned regularly, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to block 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.
For stagnant pools of water, homeowners can buy Bti products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. Bti is a naturally occurring bacteria that 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.
- Use insect repellants according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellant will contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellant on children, as repellant is not recommended for children under the age of 2 months.