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DEP Urges Pennsylvanians to Take Precautions to Reduce West Nile Virus Threat
Date:8/21/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger today reminded Pennsylvania's citizens that although the number of West Nile Virus cases has dropped, the threat still exists.

"Residents must be vigilant and make every effort to control mosquitoes and reduce the threat of the virus," said Hanger.

The number of West Nile cases has substantially decreased in recent years from 237 confirmed human cases in 2003 to just 14 last year. The virus has been detected in 21 counties and, last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed the first human case this year involving a woman in Luzerne County.

Hanger asked all Pennsylvanians to take some simple precautions to prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:

  • Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes;
  • Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes;
  • When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October; and
  • Use insect repellants according to the manufacturer's instructions. An effective repellant will contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellant on children, as repellant is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

In addition, individuals can take a number of measures around the home to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:

  • Throw away tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accum
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
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