West Nile virus confirmed in Springettsbury, Hanover
Mosquitoes in Springettsbury Township and one bird in Hanover have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to news releases from the York County Mosquito Surveillance Program.
The mosquitoes were collected July 29, and the bird, an American crow, was collected Aug. 5. These are the first samples in York County to test positive for the virus in 2019.
In 2018, there were 218 mosquito samples that tested positive for the West Nile, said Lee Graybill, program administrator for the county's Mosquito Surveillance Program.
"Last year was a record year for York County and for the country as a whole, and so subsequently there was a record amount of control," he said. "We believe so many were destroyed last year that they haven’t rebounded yet."
As for last year's birds, two American crows in York County tested positive for the virus in 2018, and 38 birds tested positive statewide, Graybill said Wednesday.
West Nile virus is most commonly spread to humans via mosquito bites after the insects contract the virus from feeding on infected birds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There's no vaccine and no treatment available, but most people who are infected — about eight out of 10 — don't experience any symptoms, the CDC reports.
About one in five people with the virus will experience a fever, with other possible symptoms including rash, head and body aches, joint pain, vomiting or diarrhea, And an even smaller number — about one in 150 — will develop a severe illness, such as brain inflammation, impacting the central nervous system, according to the CDC.
Graybill said he wasn't aware of any human infections detected in York County this year.
Response: The state Department of Environmental Protection and the county's mosquito surveillance department are collecting additional mosquito samples from the Springettsbury Township and Hanover areas and working to reduce the larvae population.
The most common mosquito species in residential areas breed in discarded tires, swimming pools, buckets and tarps, the county stated in a news release.
Graybill said the best way to reduce the number of mosquitoes is for individual property owners to remove clutter that collects standing water, which is a breeding ground for the insects.
"One bucket or tire in someone’s backyard can produce hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes in a year," the release stated.
With only one mosquito sample testing positive for the virus so far, and the overall number of mosquitoes remaining low compared to last year, the county hasn't scheduled any spraying events, Graybill said.
Statewide: Mosquitoes in 21 counties in Pennsylvania have tested positive for West Nile virus so far in 2019, including York, Cumberland, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.
County residents should be proactive about cleaning up their yards and should use mosquito repellent or take other precautions when spending time outdoors, the county news release stated.
York County residents who have concerns about mosquitoes and West Nile virus in a particular area should report them through the state's website at www.westnile.state.pa.us.
Residents may also contact the York County Mosquito Surveillance Program by calling 717-840-2375 or emailing LMGraybill@yorkcountypa.gov.