West Nile Virus is something Pennsylvanians deal with every year, but the virus is present in more areas around the Keystone state than ever before.
Spread and carried by the Culex mosquito, West Nile is present in an overwhelming majority of states across the country. Many local townships including Middletown and Bensalem have sprayed ultra-low volume, lox toxicity spray consisting of Duet Dual-Action Adulticide to combat the carriers.
Philip Smith with the Bucks County Department of Health says the prevalence of the Culex is based on a few factors, but one stands out above the rest.
“West Nile is pervasive every year. This is probably the worst year,” Smith said. “I think the weather has played a factor in how bad it is this year.”
Heavy rains have made ideal conditions for mosquitoes of any kind. 51 counties in Pennsylvania are affected this year, including Bucks county. Despite the widespread presence, Smith has advice on how to avoid contracting West Nile.
“They are early morning biters, say 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. when the sun starts to get high in the sky,” Smith explained. “And then early in the evening, around 7:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.
But no one can stay inside every night, so Smith suggests using a lot of DEET, the ingredient present in most insect repellents.
Smith also advises people to be weary of symptoms because it is not yet flu season.
“It mimics flu symptoms. You’re going to get a fever, aches and pains,” Smith said. “All these physicians and hospitals have also been put on that alert, so you should see a family doctor if you have any of those symptoms.”
Pennsylvania’s West Nile Virus Control Program has several other recommendations on their website to help combat West Nile. Bti, or Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, is a chemical posing absolutely no risk to humans but is devastating to mosquito larvae.
The program also recommends getting rid of still water as the best way to get ride of mosquitoes, regardless of species.