West Nile virus in Phila. region

July 6, 2009 4:55:27 PM PDT
It looks like the Philadelphia region has its first case of a mosquito carrying the West Nile Virus, but given the wet weather we had last month, perfect for mosquito breeding, it probably won't be the last.That first infected mosquito was sucked into a trap by a small battery operated fan. A state lab confirmed West Nile.

Across the region officials are bracing for a bumper crop of mosquitoes. The recent rains have created ideal conditions.

Kim Venezia, of the Pennsylvania State Cooperative Service, is on the hunt in Delaware County. After finding mosquito larvae in creek water, she blows bits of ground up corncob into the area which contains special bacteria that is harmless to everything but immature mosquitoes.

She also has set out a trap to monitor the adults. Earlier this summer the trap might catch 100 in 24 hours.

"Now we're catching 400, 600 and in one case 1,000, which is a really large number of mosquitoes."

Pennsylvania is spending $7-million to battle West Nile. Experts say residents need to help by looking for and getting rid of standing water in unused pools, the hollow of old tires and recycling bins.

"Even your recycling bin that's been sitting out a few days can be, unless you put holes in it to drain it, can be a source of standing water and they can breed fast," said Deborah Fries of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Dusk is when mosquitoes that can carry West Nile come out. The DEP urges people to wear long sleeves and use repellents with DEET.

Parents say the message is getting out.

"I do think about mosquitoes you know it does concern me I think about the possibility of her getting bit and then what might come out of that," Beth Marrow of Springfield.

West Nile is a tricky virus to predict in most cases its mild symptoms, very mild symptoms in some cases that last 3 to 6 days but in rare instances about 1 out of every 150 cases there can be very severe complications which is why experts urge everyone to take precautions.

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