Chester County is getting $104,807 from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to control West Nile Virus this year.
The DEP announced that in all it is awarding nearly $2.1 million in West Nile Virus (WNV) Control Program Grants to 26 counties. Last year, 1,213 mosquitos, 28 avian specimens, two horses and 11 humans were infected with WNV in Pennsylvania.
In humans, the virus can cause West Nile fever and encephalitis, an infection that can lead to brain inflammation and death. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito will never develop any symptoms, and only one person in 150 people with symptoms will develop the more serious West Nile encephalitis.
“These county grants ensure that mosquito populations stay in check to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus,” said E. Christopher Abruzzo, DEP secretary. “Locally-based programs play an important role in protecting the public from this perennial problem.”
The funding is used to cover the costs associated with surveying and controlling mosquitoes that carry WNV. DEP developed the funding proposals in consultation with county officials based on need. The grant program is funded by the general fund.
To reduce the risk of WNV, DEP and county staff use a combination of education, source reduction and mosquito control. Mosquito control is largely done by using larval control products, such as Bti – derived from soil bacteria.
If necessary, man-made adult mosquito control products from the chrysanthemum flower are used to reduce mosquito populations when they pose an elevated risk of infecting people. Adult mosquito control products are effective in controlling mosquito populations and pose little to no harmful effect to humans, plants or other animals.
Residents are encouraged to remove all standing water from their property to prepare for mosquito season and prevent infection. To report a dead bird, file a mosquito complaint or for more information about WNV, look here: www.westnile.state.pa.us, or call 717-346-8243.