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Infectious virus discovered in mosquitoes in western Pennsylvania

Infectious virus found in mosquitoes in western Pennsylvania – WFMJ.com News Weather Sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio


Infectious virus discovered in mosquitoes in western Pennsylvania

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Authorities in Mercer County are urging people to take precautions against mosquito bites after a mosquito-borne virus that can cause a brain infection was discovered in nearby Crawford County.

A press release from the Mercer County Conservation District's Vector Management Program announced that the Jamestown Canyon virus has been detected in mosquito populations in Woodcock Township.

Pennsylvania's Vector Management Program is tasked with keeping track of mosquitoes, ticks and other insects that can transmit disease to people and animals.

This is the first sample to test positive for the virus in Crawford County this year. No human cases have been reported to date.

Authorities say additional surveillance is being conducted in the area where mosquito samples were collected and that control measures will be taken depending on the number and type of mosquitoes found.

Most people do not experience any symptoms, but some suffer from fever, headache and fatigue. Respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat or runny nose may also occur.

The Jamestown Canyon virus can cause serious illness, including infection of the brain (encephalitis) or the meninges (meningitis).

If you think you or a family member may be infected, talk to your doctor.

By avoiding mosquito bites, the risk of infection can be reduced.

Mosquitoes that can spread the Jamestown Canyon virus are attracted to floodwaters and low-lying areas where water collects after storms.

The detection of JCV in Crawford County does not pose an immediate or widespread threat to the community, but is the result of additional testing capacity as part of the statewide mosquito disease control program, according to Vector Management.

Businesses and residents in Woodcock Township should take extra precautions, such as applying insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors at dusk and dawn.

All businesses and individuals should reduce mosquito breeding grounds by removing standing water (e.g. birdbaths, discarded tires, or other containers where standing water can collect).

You can prevent mosquito bites with the following tips:

  • Insect repellents containing DEET can be applied to exposed skin and clothing as directed.
  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and early evening, as mosquitoes are most active then. If you must go outside, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Make sure window and door screens are insect-proof.
  • Strong winds drive away mosquitoes, so electric fans can provide some relief at outdoor events.

Reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes and residential areas by:

  • Elimination of standing water in which mosquitoes lay their eggs.
  • Dispose of all waste that may contain water, such as tin cans, containers and old tires.
  • Control agents such as mosquito sprays are available in garden centers.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers and check uncovered trash piles.
  • Clean clogged gutters every year. Check storm drains, leaky faucets and window wells.
  • Empty accumulated water from wheelbarrows, boats, cargo trailers, toys and ceramic pots. If possible, turn them over when not in use.
  • Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths, ornamental ponds, water gardens and swimming areas.


Anna Harden

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