HARRISBURG, Pa., May 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today awarded $2.05 million in West Nile Virus Control grants to 25 counties.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. DEP annually partners with counties to cover the costs associated with surveying and controlling mosquitoes that can carry WNV. DEP and county programs use a combination of education, surveillance, source reduction, and environmentally responsible insecticides to reduce the risk of WNV.
"DEP is committed to preventing the spread of West Nile Virus," said DEP Secretary John Quigley. "We are proud to partner with local governments each year in order to protect the public from this health risk."
The grants, funded by the General Fund, were developed in consultation with county officials and are largely based on the historic risk of WNV.
Most people infected with WNV will never exhibit any symptoms, but one in five may develop a fever with symptoms such as fatigue and body aches. While there is currently no vaccine for WNV, most people completely recover from the fever. Less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop a serious neurological illness, such as encephalitis.
DEP encourages Pennsylvanians to remove standing water from their property and use insect repellents outdoors to prepare for mosquito season and prevent infection.
In the summer of 2014, DEP detected 1,240 mosquito samples, 17 avian specimens, one horse, and 17 humans infected with WNV, including a Philadelphia man in his 80s who succumbed to the neurological form of the virus.
Birds can be carriers of WNV, and DEP tests dead birds for WNV to determine the virus' presence in the environment. To report a dead bird, file a mosquito complaint, or for more information about WNV, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us or call 717-346-8243.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brandon Cwalina, 717-787-1323
Editor's Note: Below is the list of the 2015 West Nile Virus control grant amounts for each county:
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection