HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection announced today it will begin conducting emergency mosquito control operations in 18 counties affected by flooding.
The department will conduct truck-mounted and aerial sprayings, targeting both larvae and adult mosquitoes. Floodwaters and heavy rains have created breeding grounds for the insects, leading to a dramatic rise in mosquito populations across the north-central, north-east and south-central regions of the state.
"DEP is responding quickly and aggressively to abate the mosquitoes," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "In addition to being a nuisance, some species of adult mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus. These operations will help protect public health as Pennsylvanians recover from this disaster."
DEP is surveying counties to identify concentrated areas of adult mosquitoes and their larvae, which are laid in standing water. Truck-mounted sprayings are happening in areas where high populations of mosquitoes have been detected. DEP is conducting targeted larvacide operations in areas with standing water.
Beginning next week, DEP will spray Columbia and Luzerne counties by airplane. Areas of high concentrations of larvae in Dauphin, Columbia and Luzerne counties will also be sprayed by helicopter.
DEP tests samples of mosquitoes captured in traps for West Nile virus, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of contracting West Nile encephalitis. Four human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed so far this year.
DEP will announce truck-mounted sprayings via news releases and West Nile virus news alerts for which the public can sign up to receive at https://www.ahs2.dep.state.pa.us/WestNileNews/default.aspx
For more information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click "Flood-related information."
Editor's Note: The 18 counties are Adams, Bradford, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wyoming and York.
Media contact: Kevin Sunday, 717-787-1323
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection