The discovery was announced by a representative of the Lehigh County Mosquito and Vector Control District. Nora Woods, the spokeswoman for the mosquito control district, explained that this is not the first time this year that researchers tested groups of mosquitoes, but it is the first time this year that the mosquitoes tested positive with the West Nile virus.
The researchers caught the mosquitoes near the Upper Macungie Township and said they will be spraying the area with insecticide in order to control the insect population. Woods said that usually, the West Nile virus requires warmer weather in order to replicate. According to medical records, two people have died because of the West Nile virus and more than 50 have been infected with it in the last ten years.
Steve Schutz, manager of the scientific program, said that it’s no surprise to find mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus in this county. The scientists are surprised they didn’t find any dead birds infected with this virus, which is a significant fact. Schutz explained that finding dead birds that carry this virus is a strong indicator of where the problem is so that officials can prevent it from spreading.
He added that district scientists can only test the dead birds after members of the public report the location where the birds were found. According to Schutz, this year there were fewer reports, compared to previous years, and he advises people to report any bird they suspect it might have died of suspicious causes.
Although the mosquitoes prefer to feed on birds, they can transmit the virus to humans after they have bitten an infected bird and then bite a person. The mildest symptoms of the West Nile virus include headache, fever, fatigue, body aches and the swelling of the lymph glands.
However, the most severe form of this virus can be fatal, according to the district officials. People are recommended to use mosquito repellent products that contain DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or Picaridin.
Also, district officials recommend people to drain any standing water and avoid going outdoors when mosquitoes swarm. Residents must also report any swimming pools that appear neglected. The officials made public a hotline where the public can report dead birds. The hotline number is (877) 968-2473.
Image Source: Medimoon