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PA's First West Nile Positive Sample of 2009 Discovered in York County
Date:5/14/2009

ile virus, a small percentage of those exposed will experience a fever, rash, headache, meningitis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Everyone is at risk, but older adults and people with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of developing severe illness because their bodies have a harder time fighting off disease.

While DEP and county West Nile coordinators will again be conducting statewide monitoring and spraying programs this year, DEP Secretary John Hanger reminded all Pennsylvanians that they can help in the battle against mosquitoes that carry the disease by remembering the phrase, "Dump it. Drain it. Treat it."

"Standing water can quickly become a breeding ground for mosquitoes," Hanger said. "So dump it if it has water in it; drain it if it can be drained; and treat it if it has standing water. By taking these simple actions in your own backyard, you can eliminate those breeding areas and reduce your chances of contracting the virus."

Tips to eliminate standing water include:

  • Throw away tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water--holding containers that have accumulated on property.
  • Pay special attention to discarded tires, which can hold stagnant water.
  • Maintain drainage holes that are located on the sides of gardening containers that might allow enough water to collect for mosquitoes to develop.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters as needed.
  • Turn over plastic wadding pools, wheelbarrows and birdbaths when not in use.
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stick them with fish.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
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