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First Pa. human West Nile cases of 2012

August 6, 2012 3:18:43 PM PDT
Pennsylvania has its first human cases of West Nile Virus and is expecting many more before the season is over.

A Lancaster county woman is recovering after developing the milder West Nile fever, however, a Franklin County woman had to be hospitalized for meningitis, due to the virus.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says the numbers of mosquitoes carrying West Nile is the highest ever, since the disease first came to the U.S. a decade ago.

Because of that, they are urging everyone to make sure mosquitoes don't have a place to breed...that means you should get rid of any standing water around the house.

These can include urban catch basins, clogged gutters, discarded tires, poorly maintained swimming pools, flower pots and other types of plastic containers.

Simple steps to eliminate standing water around the home include:

* Remove tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires or any object that could collect standing water. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.

* Have roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains.

*Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

* Do not let water stagnate in birdbaths.

* Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with fish.

* Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and remove standing water from pool covers.

* Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

* Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated with Bti products which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores.

Bti is a natural product that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

Although mosquitoes can bite at any time of day or night, they are most active at dawn and dusk. When outdoors, people can avoid mosquito bites by properly and consistently using DEET-containing insect repellants and covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing. To keep mosquitoes from entering a home, make sure window and door screens are in place and are in good condition.

The Department of Environmental Protection plans spraying in Delaware County on Thursday, if there's no rain.


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