$5.3 Million in Grants to Benefit Prevention, Control Efforts in Every County
HARRISBURG, Pa., March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every county in Pennsylvania will benefit from an aggressive effort to monitor and control mosquitoes this summer, said Governor Edward G. Rendell today as he announced a $5.3 million investment that will help fight to stop the West Nile Virus.
"We've worked diligently over the past several years to protect the public's health by ensuring that our counties have the resources they need to control mosquito populations and monitor for signs of the West Nile Virus," said Governor Rendell. "Our investments are paying dividends. With fewer human cases, few counties reporting that the virus has been detected, and a better understanding by the public of the threat, our citizens can enjoy the outdoors with more peace of mind."
In 2003, there were 237 reported human cases of the West Nile Virus, with nine fatalities. In 2006, nine Pennsylvanians were diagnosed with the virus, two of whom died. Last year, though, nine state residents contracted the virus but there were no deaths.
In humans, the virus can cause West Nile fever and encephalitis, an infection that can cause inflammation of the brain and death. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito will never develop any symptoms, and only one in 150 with symptoms will develop the more serious West Nile encephalitis.
"The investment we're making this year will help the Department of Environmental Protection and county West Nile Virus workers to remain vigilant," said the Governor. "West Nile Virus is still active in parts of Pennsylvania, and controlling it requires the aggressive mosquito surveillance and control program that we will support again this year."
DEP and county staff supported by the grants announced today use environmentally sensitive materials to control the mosquito population.
For killing larvae, which is the major method of mosquito control, the naturally-occurring bacteria Bti and Bsph are used. These bacteria attack the digestive system of the mosquito larvae, and have no effect on people, animals or plants.
Another larval control product is the insect juvenile hormone, methoprene, which prevents the mosquito larvae from developing into adults. The products used to kill adult mosquitoes, likewise, are selected based on their environmental sensitivity and are applied so they do not harm people, animals, or plants.
DEP will administer the West Nile Virus surveillance and control program for Forest County this year, with funding coming directly from the department's West Nile Virus budget. DEP has also contracted for a private firm to conduct the program in Lycoming County, at a cost of $54,600. Pike and Susquehanna counties' programs will be run in a combined $61,600 grant.
DEP Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said citizens can play a major role in controlling the mosquito populations by helping to eliminate breeding grounds for the insects.
"We need people to help us in this fight by remembering the slogan, 'Dump it, drain it, treat it,'" said McGinty. "Dump it if it has water in it; drain it if it can be drained; and treat it if it has standing water. After just a few days, standing water can become a mosquito breeding ground."
McGinty also urged people to wear insect repellant containing DEET when outside in warm weather.
Governor Rendell's proposed fiscal year 2008-09 budget also includes more than $7 million for the West Nile Virus Control Program, which will allow DEP to continue its mission of protecting against threats to human health and safety. The proposed appropriation reflects the historical funding requests of the counties, and will save the state $571,000 in operational costs for the program, without impacting surveillance and control efforts.
For more information on West Nile Virus, visit http://www.westnile.state.pa.us.
The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit http://www.governor.state.pa.us.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Below is the list of proposed 2008 West Nile Virus
Control grants for each county:
County Proposed 2008 West Nile Virus Grant
Forest Administered by DEP
Lycoming $54,588.97 (Contracted for a private firm)
Pike $61,600.00 (Shared with Susquehanna County)
Susquehanna $61,600.00 (Shared with Pike County)
Neil Weaver (DEP)
|SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor|
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