The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

2 in Pa. diagnosed with West Nile virus, Montco victim hospitalized


By Mercury staff

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Montgomery County man is one of the first reported human cases of West Nile virus in the state, according to a press release from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The man was hospitalized as a result of contracting the virus, according to the DEP.
One other human case of West Nile was reported in the state so far this year. A York County man tested positive for the infection but did not need to be hospitalized, the DEP reported.
As a result of this news, the Pennsylvania departments of health and environmental protection are urging state residents and visitors to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
“Our first positive human case of West Nile Virus serves as a reminder of the importance of prevention and education,” Secretary of Health Michael Wolf said. “There are a few simple steps we can all take to help prevent the spread of this virus among our families and in our communities.”
Mosquitoes collected in Berks, Chester, Montgomery and 33 other counties have tested positive for the disease, according to the state West Nile virus control program site, though “The results of statewide sampling of more than one million mosquitoes have indicated relatively low amounts of WNV in that population,” according to the DEP.
“This year, Pennsylvania is seeing localized outbreaks of WNV, as opposed to the statewide outbreak experienced last year.”
To reduce the threat of contracting West Nile virus, residents of the state are encouraged to eliminate standing and stagnant water on their properties, clear gutters of debris, properly discard tires, and chlorinate swimming pools. Homeowners are encouraged to drill holes in the bottom of their recycling and garbage containers to release any water that may collect, and to make sure the screens in their windows fit properly and are not ripped.
Standing water that cannot be gotten rid of can be treated with Bti products found at outdoor supply and home improvement stores. “Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants,” the DEP states.
“DEP will continue to survey affected communities to monitor the size and scope of the WNV. When necessary, DEP will conduct larval and adult control activities in order to lessen the threat to human health. These efforts will continue through October,” the DEP stated.
The Montgomery County Health Department is scheduled to spray for mosquitoes in several towns in the coming weeks including West Pottsgrove on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
For more information, including current test results for mosquitoes, birds and horses, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us and click on the Pennsylvania map, or call 1-877-PA HEALTH.