$104,807 DEP grant will be used to help control mosquitoes
HARRISBURG – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced on Tuesday, April 15, that 26 counties, including Chester, would receive a total of nearly $2.1 million in grants to control the West Nile virus, a DEP news release said.
“These county grants ensure that mosquito populations stay in check to prevent the spread of West Nile virus,” DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. “Locally-based programs play an important role in protecting the public from this perennial problem.”
The funding – $104,807 for Chester County – will be used to cover the costs associated with surveying and controlling mosquitoes that carry West Nile; DEP developed the funding proposals in consultation with county officials, based on need, the release said.
To reduce the risk of West Nile virus, DEP and county staff use a combination of education, source reduction and mosquito control. Mosquito control is largely done by using larval control products, such as Bti, which is derived from soil bacteria. If necessary, man-made adult mosquito control products derived from the chrysanthemum flower are used to reduce mosquito populations when they pose an elevated risk of infecting people. Adult mosquito control products are effective in controlling mosquito populations and pose little to no harmful effect to humans, plants or other animals, the release said.
Last year DEP detected 1,213 mosquito samples, 28 avian specimens, two horses and 11 humans infected with West Nile virus in Pennsylvania. In humans, the virus can cause West Nile fever and encephalitis, an infection that can cause inflammation of the brain and death. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito will never develop any symptoms, and only one person in 150 people with symptoms will develop the more serious West Nile encephalitis.
Residents are encouraged to remove all standing water from their property to prepare for mosquito season and prevent infection. To report a dead bird, file a mosquito complaint, or receive more information about West Nile virus, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us or call 717-346-8243.