Health Trends

Philadelphia health officials say West Nile positive mosquitoes are in the region

(Photo by Stephen Ausmus/USDA)

There are mosquitoes in Philadelphia that are positive for West Nile virus, according to the Philadelphia Department of Health.

Officials with the health department made the announcement Thursday, saying they identified a “pool” of mosquitoes that were positive for West Nile.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection also announced they have found West Nile virus activity in Bucks, Cumberland, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite humans. It can cause neurologic symptoms. It is reported one in five people infected will suffer from fever and flu-like symptoms. One in 150 people will develop inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, which can lead to death.

Officials say the best way to avoid a West Nile infection is to keep mosquitoes from breeding.

Tips to mosquito-proof your home and neighborhood:  
• Anything that can hold water can breed mosquitoes, from soda  bottle caps to discarded tires. Check your property for these sources of standing water and dump them out. 
• At least once or twice a week, empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, cans, and any other items outside your home. 
• Empty and store wading pools for kids on their side. 
• Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out. 
• Remove unused tires, and other items that could collect water. 
• Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home. 
• Keep well-fitted screens on both windows and doors. 
• Call the Health Department’s Mosquito Complaint hotline at 215-685-9000 to report mosquito problems in your neighborhood. 

Tips to prevent West Nile virus for you and your family:  
• Wear insect repellent on exposed skin when outdoors. The insect repellant should contain one of the following ingredients: DEET, Picardin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or PMD. 
• When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors. 
• Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening when some mosquitoes are most active.

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