A spray designed to control the spread of mosquitoes will be applied to sections of Bethlehem Township tonight in the state’s continuing effort to control the spread of West Nile virus, according to a Department of Environmental Protection news release.
In the event of rain, it will be rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 31 at the same time.
The treatments will be administered by truck-mounted equipment to spray open spaces in residential, recreational and industrial areas.
There have been 12 reported human cases of West Nile virus in Pennsylvania this summer, two of them in Lehigh County. One Luzerne County man has died of complications from the disease. Human cases have also been confirmed in Chester, Delaware, Franklin and Lancaster counties.
Eight mosquitoes captured in Bethlehem Township and 10 more in the city have tested positive for the virus.
Certain mosquito species carry the West Nile virus, which can cause humans to contract West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of contracting West Nile encephalitis.
Mosquito samples in 47 counties have been identified with the West Nile virus so far this year.
Individuals can take a number of precautionary measures around their homes to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:
• Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water.
• Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
• Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
• Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
• Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers.
If a resident has stagnant pools of water on their property, they can buy BTI products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larva but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
Additionally, these simple precautions can 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.
• Use insect repellants according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellant will contain DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellant on children, as repellant is not recommended for children under the age of two months.