First mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus found in Harrisburg

July 29, 2014

HARRISBURG – The first mosquitoes capable of carrying the West Nile Virus has been located in the City of Harrisburg, and Mayor Eric Papenfuse says city and county officials are closely monitoring the situation to try to prevent the virus from spreading.

“We are working closely with county officials who are assessing the mosquito population in our area,” said Mayor Papenfuse.

Capital Region Water teams are using bleach to clean water inlets in an effort to kill larvae that may be in stagnant water.  And the Dauphin County Conservation District is collecting mosquito samples in Harrisburg to track the presence of the West Nile virus.

The Dauphin County Conservation District monitors mosquito populations throughout the county and says the discovery in Harrisburg is the eleventh positive result this year for the presence of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus.

The infected sample was collected on July 23 in Harrisburg. No cases of humans being infected with the virus have been reported in Dauphin County.

The virus can cause encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents of areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of getting West Nile encephalitis. Although the risk of contracting WNV from an infected mosquito is small, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are advised to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus.

The county’s West Nile Virus Control program is increasing surveillance and control measures to reduce the mosquito population and contain the virus.

Residents are urged to take the following precautions:

  • Use products with Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) — a naturally-occurring bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets and plants — for stagnant pools of water in the lawn and garden.
  •  Remove any standing water in pots, containers, pool covers, tires, wheelbarrows, wading pools, roof gutters and other containers that hold water.
  •  Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
  •  Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
  •  Reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.
  • Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

To learn more about WNV and prevention, visit the CDC’s Web site at

For more information about Dauphin County’s WNV Control Program, contact Christopher Hooper, program coordinator, at 717-921-8100.


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