The West Nile Virus is present in our area according to Cambria county officials,
According to the CDC, the West Nile Virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. There is currently no vaccine or treatment available for those who contract the virus and about 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.
The virus has been present in PA since the year 2000 with the department of environmental protection and the department of health implementing surveillance and control programs. Not every county in the commonwealth has had a case of it so far in 2023 but it has been detected within our viewing area in Cambria, Blair, and Centre County. Most recently Dale Borough has posted a notice that the virus has been detected in their area just last month.
“The traps that I set in Dale Borough last week came back positive and they are all relatively close in geographic area, So, we take a look at what the situation calls for and in this case the infection rate is extremely high.”
Because of the discovery, the county has ordered a spray event where pesticide will be released to control the spread of the virus. Officials urge the public not to panic but to remain vigilant when it comes to their protection.
“People should be slightly more concerned at this time of year regardless of whether or not they see us out in their area doing a spray, Mid-August to mid-September show the highest number of human infection for West Nile. We’ve had an entire season where we have older mosquitos and they’ve continued to take blood meals from infected birds so the virus is now amplified.”
According to the CDC, the West Nile Virus is similar to other viruses such as influenza. It’s symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, and tiredness so it’s hard to tell it apart from other commonplace diseases.
“About 80% of people are going to be asymptomatic that can contract it and will have no problem, It’s the others that present in a different way that we’re concerned with. There are more at risk populations, the elderly, people over 50 are generally considered more at risk. “
Officials tell us the pesticide spray is harmless and will not have a detrimental effect to the environment.
“While this is one tool that I can use to help lower the infection risk, it’s really dependent on the public to make sure that they use insect repellent and just be a little cautious at dusk and dawn, That they take the stops to protect themselves and alleviate any standing water in or around their house.”
For more information on what repellants you can use to keep yourself safe visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency website.