SUNBURY — Sunbury officials are reporting a positive case of West Nile virus has been detected within the city and are urging residents to dump stagnant water.
City Administrator Derrick Backer said the city was alerted to the positive case Friday morning by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Vector Management.
Backer said additional mosquito surveillance, sampling and larval control are being performed as necessary by the Northumberland County Conservation District Mosquito-borne Disease Control Program staff.
According to the Pennsylvania DEP, West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation and is typically spread by the bite of a mosquito. It was first detected in North America in 1999 and found in Pennsylvania in 2000.
DEP reports 20 Pennsylvania counties have positive cases, including the entire southeastern corner of the state.
Madison Rodarmel, Mosquito-borne Disease Program Coordinator at the Northumberland County Conservation District informed city officials Friday morning.
The organization recommends residents continue to take time to inspect their yards and take a few minutes to clean up, reduce yard clutter and dump out any sources of stagnant water,” Rodarmel said.
“Residents may also purchase a variety of mosquito control and repellent products from most home and garden centers. Performing a community-wide cleanup will help reduce most mosquito concerns. Residents are urged to contact their local municipality to help promote cleaning up to reduce mosquito concerns and disease risk. Stormwater management systems can sometimes contribute to mosquito issues and are also routinely monitored by our staff.”
Rodarmel said mosquito surveillance in the five counties that are covered — Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union — indicates that the most common mosquito species in residential areas come from artificial containers left behind by humans.
“Artificial containers can be something small like a flower vase to sometimes as large as a swimming pool,” Rodarmel said. “Additional containers such as tires, buckets, child toys, and tarps are preferred by mosquitoes because other predators found in nature which would prey on mosquito larvae are not present. During periods of drought, these containers continue to hold water and produce mosquitoes. One bucket or tire in someone’s backyard can produce hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes in a year.”
Rodarmel said residents who don’t like to use repellents when spending time outside should bring a fan with them.
“We recommend taking an electric fan outside with you,” Rodarmel said. “Mosquitoes are weak flyers and the fan will help keep them away. As a last resort, residents can purchase insecticides from garden centers and hardware stores to spray in their yard but need to be sure to follow the label instructions.”
Residents living in the five-county coalition can contact the Northumberland County Conservation District Mosquito-borne Disease Control Program by calling 570-495-4665 x303 or emailing email@example.com.