Mosquito collected in Cumberland County tests positive for West Nile Virus

The sample, recently collected in Dickinson Township, is the first positive test of the year, according to the county’s Vector Control Office.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. – The Cumberland County Vector Control Office announced Monday that it has been notified that a mosquito collected in Dickinson Township has tested positive for West Nile virus, the county communications office said in a news release.

It is the first positive sample collected in the county this year, the press release said.

As of this week, Cumberland County has completed 59 mosquito control treatments, according to the press release.

“Our office has already conducted mosquito sprays in Dickinson Township to reduce the mosquito population,” said John Bitner, director of vector control for Cumberland County. “We will continue to monitor this area and, if necessary, control mosquitoes throughout the county.”

County residents can help prevent mosquito-borne diseases by:

  • Use of mosquito repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Take extra precautions at dusk, the peak of female mosquito feeding.
  • Secure window and door screens to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.
  • Elimination of standing water around your property.
  • Treating water sources that cannot be drained, mosquito dunks or bits that contain Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), which kills larvae. These products are safe for use around people and pets and can be found at hardware stores and other local retailers.

Mosquitoes transmit WNV by feeding on infected birds and transmit the disease when they bite another bird, animal or human, the county said.

The county’s WNV program employs an integrated pest management (IPM) plan to control mosquitoes while limiting human and environmental impacts.

Vector Control will continue to collect and monitor the mosquito population and actively treat the aquatic habitat to limit future generations of mosquitoes.

The virus is not transmitted through personal contact, the district said. One in five people infected with WNV will develop a mild infection called West Nile fever; Pain, fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes are symptoms of this infection.

With rest and fluids, most people recover in a few days, according to the county.

Less than one percent of infections progress to life-threatening West Nile encephalitis. Symptoms in severe cases include high fever, headache, stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation, tremors, and convulsions. This infection requires immediate medical attention.

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