MCHD urges residents to prepare for West Nile Virus season

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The West Nile Virus (WNV) season has begun and the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) recommends that residents take precautions to clear away mosquito breeding areas around their homes. WNV, which surfaced in the U.S. ten years ago, is commonly transmitted back and forth between infected birds and mosquitoes. However, humans can become the unintended hosts of the disease when they are bitten by an infected mosquito.

With the onset of warmer weather and peak WNV season approaching, MCHD is reminding residents that they can help prevent the spread of WNV by eliminating standing water from their property. West Nile virus remains an unpredictable disease, and we won't be able to tell how severe a problem it will be this year. By taking steps now, residents can help to reduce mosquito populations. Eliminating standing water has proven effective in controlling WNV.

MCHD also encourages residents to mosquito-proof their homes by replacing torn screens in doors and windows; cleaning out gutters; and by emptying and turning over containers that could collect water allowing mosquitoes to breed. Standing water is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. Anything that can hold water for four days can breed 1000’s of mosquitoes.

MCHD will soon begin routine larviciding of public properties throughout the summer months. If WNV activity poses a risk to human health, adulticiding or spraying may be necessary in targeted areas.

Residents who would like to be notified of when spraying will occur should sign up for the ReadyNotify service at https://montco.alertpa.org. Residents must register for “Health Alerts” to get notifications from the Health Department about WNV sprays and other emergent and non-emergent issues. Other information about WNV, including products used can be found at the Health Department website, http://health.montcopa.org. Attached are some documents for your information, please feel free to print and display.

Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Check and repair windows and screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
  • Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
  • Survey your property and dispose of containers that can collect standing water such as: old tires, cans, bottles, buckets, toys.
  • After it rains empty any plant containers, bird baths, flowerpots, kiddie pools and pool covers to keep water from collecting in these items.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly and rooftops are free of standing water.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
  • Drill several holes in the bottom of recycling buckets so water can drain from them. Trash containers should be covered so no rain can accumulate in them.
  • Use an approved mosquito repellant when outdoors in areas where mosquitoes are active. Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. FOLLOW THE LABEL DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY. Do NOT apply to face.
  • NEVER ALLOW CHILDREN TO APPLY REPELLENTS. Parents should avoid applying repellents to the hands of children.
  • Repellents should NOT be applied to very young children (less then 3 years old).
  • Avoid mosquito-breeding areas during peak periods of mosquito activity.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, making sure to cover feet and ankles.
  • Discuss any concerns with your private physician.  

Attached are some documents for your information, please feel free to print and display. More information about WNV, including products used can be found at the Health Department website, http://health.montcopa.org.

Should you have questions regarding any aspect of our West Nile Virus initiative and joint tasks, please do not hesitate to contact Montgomery County Health Department at (610) 278-5117.

 

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