The Lehigh County West Nile program will be in South Whitehall, Upper Macungie and Allentown on Aug. 29 to curb the mosquito population that carries the disease.
A truck-mounted sprayer will begin spraying around sunset with a product, Duet, that has a very low toxicity and is safe for the environment, according to Louise Bugbee of the Lehigh County Penn State Extension. Several mosquitoes found in South Whitehall and Upper Macungie have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
Certain mosquito species carry the West Nile Virus, which can cause humans to contract West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of contracting West Nile virus.
Upper Macungie has seen 13 positive mosquito tests and dead birds as a result. were found dead of West Nile earlier this month.
Earlier this month, a became one of seven Pennsylvanians sickened by West Nile Virus - an infection rate on track to exceed the most West Nile cases ever in the state by the end of the year. Yesterday, it was reported a second Lehigh County person was sickened, bringing the total to eight.
Weather conditions and other unexpected events could delay or cancel this spray operation.
Individuals can take a number of precautionary measures around their homes to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:
• 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, visitwww.westnile.state.pa.us.