Philadelphia health officials say West Nile positive mosquitoes are in the area

(Photo by Stephen Ausmus/USDA)

There are mosquitoes in Philadelphia that test positive for West Nile virus, according to the Philadelphia Department of Health.

Health department officials made the announcement on Thursday, saying they had identified a “pool” of West Nile-positive mosquitoes.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection also announced that it found West Nile virus activity in Bucks, Cumberland, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties.

West Nile virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes that bite humans. This can cause neurological symptoms. It is reported that one in five infected people will suffer from fever and flu-like symptoms. One in 150 people will develop inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, which can lead to death.

Officials say the best way to avoid West Nile infection is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Tips to protect your home and neighborhood from mosquitoes:
• Anything that can hold water can breed mosquitoes, from soda bottle caps to old tires. Check your property for these sources of standing water and dispose of them.
• At least once or twice a week, empty the water from flower pots, pet food and water bowls, birdbaths, pool covers, buckets, barrels, canisters and any other items outside your home.
• Empty and store wading pools for children by their side.
• Check if the gutters are clogged and clean them.
• Remove unused tires and other items that may collect water.
• Be sure to check for containers or trash in hard-to-see places, such as under bushes or under your house.
• Keep tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
• Call the Health Department’s Mosquito Complaint Hotline at 215-685-9000 to report mosquito problems in your neighborhood.

Tips to prevent West Nile virus for you and your family:
• Wear insect repellent on exposed skin when outdoors. The insect repellent must contain one of the following ingredients: DEET, picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD.
• Weather permitting, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
• Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk and early evening when some mosquitoes are most active.

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