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Gov. Rendell Proposes Help for Counties Battling West Nile; Warns Future Amounts Could be Less
Date:5/8/2009

Senate Republican Budget Proposal Could Slash Grants by 40 Percent

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After a year in which the West Nile Virus was discovered in 33 counties and 14 Pennsylvanians were diagnosed with the disease, including one fatality, Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced a plan to help counties monitor and control mosquitoes.

The Governor warned, however, that the actual grant amounts counties receive could be slashed under a budget proposal that was offered and approved this week on a party-line vote by Senate Republicans.

Under the Governor's plan, 62 counties will receive a total of $4.6 million, while the Senate's plan would offer only about $2.8 million, or about 40 percent less.

"We have made great strides in controlling the West Nile Virus in recent years because we have aggressively monitored and applied treatments to kill the mosquito populations in the state," said Governor Rendell. "As a result, we have seen a significant drop in the number of West Nile cases in the last six years, but that doesn't mean that the potential threat is any less.

"Counties need resources to help them target locations where mosquitoes breed and fund the spraying programs that keep people safe. We've been able to reduce the costs associated with running this program, but if the Senate Republican budget is adopted, many counties will have to drastically cut back their work. That puts more and more of our citizens at risk of contracting the West Nile Virus."

Governor Rendell said the decline in confirmed human cases is a result of knowledge gained in past years to better target mosquito populations and maximize available resources to control those populations. By comparison, there were 237 reported human cases of the West Nile Virus with nine fatalities in 2003.

In humans, the virus can cause West Nile fever and ence
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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