Reduce your risk of becoming infected by mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus

Date: July 19, 2018

The 2018 Centre County West Nile Virus (WNV) Surveillance and Control season is underway. Through September 30, the Surveillance and Control program will trap adult mosquitoes in populated areas of the County and ship them to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) in Harrisburg, where they will be identified by species. The adult species capable of transmitting WNV will be tested for the virus.

To date this year, Centre County has collected 250 mosquitoes and tested 59 samples. Five (5) tests were positive for WNV. The county also tested three (3) birds, with negative results. 

Pennsylvania has about 50 species of mosquitoes; of these, 12 are capable of infecting humans with WNV.

If a WNV positive mosquito is found, or large numbers of a species capable of infecting humans are found, Centre County personnel are licensed to treat breeding areas with pesticides. In addition, the Centre County West Nile Virus Program is responsible for collecting dead birds for WNV testing. These are limited to crows, blue jays, hawks and owls. Residents are encouraged to report dead birds to the Centre County office.

WNV is a mosquito-borne disease that produces severe neurological symptoms in about 1 percent of humans that become infected as the result of a bite by a mosquito infected with WNV.

Health experts say the risk of contracting West Nile Virus actually increases toward the end of summer and in the fall.

West Nile Virus is a public health hazard we all want to prevent. Residents can assist the County Program by eliminating any sources of standing water. See more tips below.

Managed by the Centre County Planning and Community Development Office, the WNV Surveillance and Control Program is funded by a PADEP grant. Residents with questions may contact the office at (814) 355-6791. Or visit the website at www.centrecountypa.gov

Frequently asked questions, prevention and control, symptoms and treatment

Reduce your risk of becoming infected by mosquitoes carrying the virus by following these few simple steps:

  • If outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, dress in light-colored, long-sleeved clothing, long pants and socks. Apply mosquito repellent with DEET to clothing and exposed skin in accordance with label directions.
  • Maintain your swimming pool. Neglected pools can be ideal sources for larval development of the mosquito species that transmits West Nile Virus. 
  • Discard any outdoor container that might hold water, or empty water from wading pools and birdbaths, once a week. Remove old tires that are holding water. Clean gutters that may be clogged as well as any poorly functioning stormwater systems that may be holding water. 
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery around the house trimmed so that adult mosquitoes will not hide there.
  • To prevent mosquito larvae development, do not dump grass clippings into low lying areas that collect water after a rainfall. Using a mulching lawnmower can help eliminate grass clipping disposal.
  • Report dead birds on your property to the Centre County WNV Coordinator, or visit www.westnile.state.pa.us. Or, call (717) 346-8243. You may also report any wet areas that are breeding large amounts of mosquitoes. 

To view the Pennsylvania West Nile Virus Surveillance Data and Map:
*Pennsylvania West Nile Virus Control Program: 2018 County Status