The state Department of Environmental Resources reported today that a second mosquito in Upper Macungie tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
Earlier this month, DEP said it found West Nile in mosquitoes from Upper Macungie and Upper Saucon and last month one from South Whitehall tested positive for the virus.
West Nile, which is carried by mosquitoes, can cause encephalitis --inflammation of the brain. Mosquitoes can pass on the disease to birds and other animals, as well as people.
A mild case of West Nile can manifest itself with flu-like symptoms with a fever lasting a few days. The most serious cases cause West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis or West Nile meningoencephalitis.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water around homes, weeds, tall grass, shrubbery and discarded tires.
Lehigh County efforts to reduce the risk of people contracting West Nile Virus currently center on eliminating certain mosquito breeding grounds, rather than spraying to eradicate the insects, the county coordinator said last week.
Louise Bugbee, West Nile coordinator for Lehigh County, said the county is concentrating on trapping and testing certain mosquitoes and trying to make it more difficult for them to breed. “We do the trapping and send them to DEP in Harrisburg for testing," she said.
Residents can help by cleaning up pools of water around their own property, she said. Culex mosquitoes are the main vectors of West Nile, Bugbee said, and they tend to breed in “clogged gutters, lids of garbage cans that collect water for a month, the toy under the hedge.”