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West Nile Virus Update: Bucks County at risk, Middletown to be sprayed next


Red = virus found in county

Bucks County health officials have announced “a limited adult mosquito control event on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, weather permitting” for Middletown Township.

Northampton Township and Perkasie have been sprayed recently, and New Hope will be sprayed on Sept. 16, according to the health department. A county health official confirmed Thursday that no plans were imminent for spraying in Solebury.

Latest statistics show that 73 out of 475 mosquitoes tested by Bucks County health experts were positive for the virus, which corresponded well to Mongomery County figures showing 76 out of 455 mosquitoes testing positive there. While these numbers are not broken out by municipality, a health official noted that spraying is “nine times out of 10” preceded by tests showing large mosquito populations with high rates of positive virus test readings.

Translation: Sounds like significant numbers of West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes in New Hope at the present time.

Humans have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Delaware, Philadelphia, Montgomery, and York counties.

According to Wikipedia, approximately 80% of West Nile virus infections in humans are subclinical with no symptoms. In the cases where symptoms do occur – termed West Nile fever in cases without neurological disease – the time from infection to the appearance of symptoms  is typically between 2 and 15 days. Less than 1% of the cases are severe and result in neurological disease when the central nervous system is affected. People of advanced age, the very young, or those with immunosuppression are most susceptible.

County officials say most of the mosquitoes are typically concentrated near homes, with bird baths, old car tires, potted plant trays and kiddy pools serving as frequent spawning grounds.

EPA advice on avoiding mosquitoes:

  • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellents when necessary and follow label directions and precautions closely.
  • Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes can get to your skin.
  • Use head nets, long sleeves and long pants if you venture into areas with high mosquito populations, such as salt marshes.
  • Stay indoors at sunrise, sunset and early in the evening when mosquitoes are most active, especially if there is a mosquito-borne disease warning in effect.
  • Replace your outdoor lights with yellow “bug” lights, which tend to attract fewer mosquitoes than ordinary lights. The yellow lights are NOT repellents, however.

Use structural barriers

  • Cover all gaps in walls, doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
  • Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight.”
  • Completely cover baby carriers and beds with netting.

About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

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