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Mosquito Tests Positive for West Nile Virus in Ferguson Township

by on August 23, 2019 10:02 AM

A mosquito sample collected on Dry Hollow Road in Ferguson Township tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the township.

It is the first confirmed positive sample in the Centre County this year, according to the state's West Nile Virus Control Program.

The sample was collected on Aug. 7 by the Centre County Mosquito Disease Control Program, which has conducted follow-up testing and set mosquito traps.

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 an infected mosquito. Most people do not develop any symptoms, but some may experience headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. 

Last year, Centre County had 90 cases of WNV — 57 in mosquitoes, 18 in birds, 11 in horses and four in humans.

Mosquito testing for West Nile virus has been underway since April 16 and will continue through Sept. 30. The Centre County surveillance and control program is funded by a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection grant. Licensed personnel trap adult mosquitos in populated areas and send them to DEP for testing. 

When a positive sample or a large number of mosquitos capable of infecting humans are found, the breeding area is treated with pesticides.

Residents are advised to eliminate standing water, such as in used tires, unused swimming pools, stagnant ornamental ponds and poorly functioning gutters.

Anyone aware of aware of wet areas that are breeding large amounts of mosquitos should contact the Centre County Planning and Community Development Office at (814) 355-6791 so personnel can trap mosquitos in the affected area for testing. 

The program also collects dead crows, blue jays, hawks, and owls for testing.

In addition to eliminating sources of standing water, residents should keep grass cut short and shrubbery around their homes trimmed so mosquitos cannot hide there and should not dump grass clippings in low-lying areas where water collects after rainfall. Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts, long pants socks and apply mosquito repellent if outdoors when mosquitos are most active.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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