PA Has First West Nile Case Of 2020

West Nile virus mosquitoes
Photo credit Darren McCollester / Staff

HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - The first 2020 case of the West Nile virus in Pennsylvania has been detected in Potter County.

As of now, the case is labeled as “probable”, and the samples are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

With that, the Departments of Health and Environmental Protection are reminding Pennsylvania’s residents to be wary of mosquitoes.

"While we encourage Pennsylvanians to enjoy the outdoors, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we also want them to take proper precautions from mosquitoes while outside," Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

"With the first human case of West Nile Virus detected, we want people to protect themselves.

"Several simple steps can help protect yourself and loved ones from mosquito-related diseases."

While there isn’t any set time of day for a mosquito to be active, those that are carrying the West Nile virus are more present during dawn and dusk.

This is the first suspected case in 2020, but the Department of Environmental Protection has discovered the WNV-positive mosquitoes in five counties.

"The first human positive case of the year should be a reminder to all Pennsylvanians to use a personal insect repellent or stay indoors during dawn and dusk to help prevent exposure to the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

"DEP monitors mosquito populations across Pennsylvania for the presence of disease."

Mosquitoes that transmit WNV flock to areas with stagnant water as breeding grounds.

And standing water can be found in many common locations around a person’s property: old tires, flower pots without proper drainage, poorly kept swimming pools, rainwater basins, and backed-up gutters.

The DEP recommends taking the following steps to avoid water stagnation and a subsequent infestation of mosquitoes:
  • Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water; drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors
  • Have roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use
  • Do not let water stagnate in birdbaths
  • Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with fish
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and remove standing water from pool covers
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property

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