Pennsylvanians urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is urging residents to “fight the bite” and protect themselves from mosquitoes.
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Editor’s Note: The attached video is dated August 17, 2021.
It’s officially summer, time to swim outside, watch fireworks and drink lemonade on a hot day – not for mosquito bites and diseases like West Nile virus.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages residents across the state to “fight the bite” and stay safe.
“The best parts of summer aren’t the itchy bites and disease, so we want people to protect themselves against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases,” said DEP Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. .
“It doesn’t take much to fight off the bite and protect you and your family from mosquitoes. Common sense and insect repellent can go a long way to having a safe and happy summer,” Ziadeh said.
A case of West Nile virus (WNV) was reported in Pennsylvania this year.
Symptoms of WNV in humans usually resemble a mild case of the flu, but the virus can cause much more serious illness, including brain swelling, muscle seizures, coma, paralysis, and death.
Since the DEP began monitoring the virus in 2000, there have been 48 fatal cases of the virus in Pennsylvania.
To best protect yourself from West Nile virus, follow these simple tips:
- Eliminate standing water near your home – birdbaths, kiddie pools, and other outdoor decorations can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes if the water sits for a few days.
- Keep gutters free of debris.
- Wear insect repellent or long sleeves when mosquitoes are active, usually at dawn and dusk.
- Repair window screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- Clean up trash in your neighborhood. A single plastic bottle cap can house 300 mosquito eggs.
“Standing water is where mosquitoes breed, and it doesn’t take much for mosquitoes to lay eggs,” said Jennifer Stough, water program specialist for the Mosquito Management Program. vectors of DEP.
“Mosquitoes are weak insects and won’t travel far from their birthplace, if there are mosquitoes in your yard or neighborhood they’re probably laying eggs there too,” Stough said. “If you get bitten by mosquitoes, they are 9 out of 10 times coming from your property. Get rid of even small amounts of standing water around your house.
Commonly sold insect repellents like DEET, picaridin, or other EPA-registered insect repellents can also reduce mosquito bites and possible exposure to the virus.
Long pants and long sleeves are another way to reduce exposure to mosquitoes.
“It doesn’t take much for several hundred mosquitoes to be born. The small pool of water that collects in a single overturned bottle cap is an incubator that can hold up to 300 mosquito eggs,” Stough said. “Mosquitoes acquire the virus by biting infected birds and transmit the virus to humans through a subsequent bite.”
The DEP conducts regular monitoring and control to manage the mosquito population throughout the state. As of July 15, DEP and county vector programs have detected 68 pools of WNV-infected mosquitoes in 19 counties.
Both organizations will continue to carry out routine and spot spraying to control infected adult mosquito populations. These operations are carried out when and where they are deemed necessary based on the results of recent demographic surveys.
“Control operations are a powerful tool, but they are not a substitute for preventative measures such as removing stagnant, stagnant water,” Stough said.
The DEP will continue to survey affected communities to monitor mosquito activity and WNV. DEP biologists launched a mosquito population survey to determine the risk of new human diseases. If necessary, adult mosquito populations will be reduced. These efforts will continue until October.
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