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Chester County Press

Health Department says West Nile Virus is here

08/07/2013 11:55AM ● By Acl

In a news release dated Aug. 1, the Chester County Health Department announced that mosquito traps collected in several townships have tested positive for West Nile Virus. The traps were located in • Birmingham Township, Schuylkill Township, Thornbury Township, Upper Uwchlan Township and Uwchlan Township.

The mosquito traps were placed in various locations in the county as part of routine surveillance by Health Department officials. The Health Department will continue to monitor these areas, as well as surrounding areas.

The Health Department advised residents that the chance of contracting West Nile from an infected mosquito is small, and chances of becoming seriously ill are even smaller. However, the statement made some recommendations, including staying indoors at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active, wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants when outside, and using insect repellents when mosquitoes are active. The heightened concern will probably remain until the first frost, which usually occurs in mid-October.

The statement made some recommendations that can help reduce mosquitoes in the county:

Dispose of open containers that may collect water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, and ceramic pots.

Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers so that water will not collect.

Keep your property clear of old tires.

Clean roof gutters, particularly if 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 when not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.

For stagnant pools of water that cannot be removed or drained, homeowners can buy Bti products such as mosquito dunks at lawn/garden, outdoor supply, or home improvement stores. This naturally occurring bacterial product kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.