Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Chesco

Chester County announced Tuesday the first positive test result for West Nile virus in mosquitoes collected in Uwchlan Township.

The mosquitoes were collected in traps on June 24, according to the Chester County Health Department, which issued a press release.

“This is the first positive mosquito trap identified in Chester County for the 2014 season,” the health department said.

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Mosquitoes are collected in traps throughout Pennsylvania and tested for the virus as part of routine surveillance. The tests are carried out by county health departments.

“The Health Department will continue to monitor these areas as well as surrounding areas and will consider control activities when appropriate,” it said.

The Chester County Health Department advised area residents to take precautions to minimize potential infection with West Nile virus. It said the best way to avoid contracting the virus is to stay indoors at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when outside during those times and use insect repellant.

Mosquitoes are usually active through first frost which is forecast for mid-October.

Residents should also take the following steps to reduce potential mosquito breeding areas on their property:

• Dispose of open containers that may collect water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, etc.

• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers so that water will not collect.

• Keep your property clear of old tires.

• Clean roof gutters, particularly if leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.

• Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.

• Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.

• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools when not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.

For stagnant pools of water that cannot be removed or drained, homeowners can buy Bti products such as mosquito dunks at lawn/garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacterial product kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

For more information on West Nile Virus, visit www.chesco.org/wnv or call 610-344-6752.