Lehigh Valley

Preparing for mosquitoes and West Nile virus

Preparing for mosquitoes and West Nile virus

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - With warmer weather right around the corner, mosquitoes will soon be in full force.

There are things you can do now to keep mosquitoes at bay and hopefully avoid the diseases they carry, including West Nile virus.

"The thing to remember about West Nile virus is that it's endemic now. It's not going to go away. The reservoir is the bird population so it's always going to be here and the mosquitoes are always going to be here," said Louise Bugbee, the Lehigh County West Nile Coordinator with Penn State Extension.

"The main thing of course is to make sure your property is cleaned up and you don't have standing water in the yard," she said of preventing mosquito breeding grounds. "Dump your buckets, patio pots, garbage cans, things like that."

Bugbee said there are about 30 different species of mosquitoes in the Lehigh Valley but only a few are to blame for transmitting diseases to humans.

One kind that is newer to this area is the Asian Tiger Mosquito.

"It's a very good vector for several diseases and it's a very nasty little daytime biter," Bugbee explained.

She also has a warning for people traveling to the Caribbean.

"One thing that we are concerned about now is chikungunya virus," she said. "I would really like to make a point of encouraging people, if you're going on a vacation in the Caribbean, to wear mosquito repellent, it's very, very important because chikungunya, it won't kill you, but it's very painful in your joints, you get an extremely high fever, headaches, muscle aches, nausea."

She added, "Mosquito control is something people should always have in their minds."

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