Pine-Richland residents are urged to check their property for standing water that could become breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.
“Mosquitoes breed in standing water, even in small amounts, so people should make every effort, especially after wet weather, to seek and eliminate accumulations of water,” said Interim Health Director Dr. Ronald E. Voorhees in a statement on the health department’s website.
Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not show any symptoms at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.
Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
About one in 150 people infected with West Nile Virus will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
Here are some tips to curb mosquito breeding and fend off mosquitoes:
- Get rid of items that hold water—tires, buckets, flowerpots, junk piles and cans.
- Clean out roof gutters and storm drains.
- Change the water in birdbaths once or twice a week.
- Empty and turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Drain water from plastic coverings on swimming pools and outdoor furniture.
- Properly filter/chlorinate backyard swimming pools; dismantle what is not in use.
- Fill in depressions on your lawn to prevent accumulation of water.
- Repair leaky outdoor faucets that can create a pool of stagnant water.
- Make sure windows and doors have screens and they are in good repair.
- Wear socks, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, especially during peak mosquito-biting times in the early morning and early evening.
For more information, please call the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD (2243) or visit www.achd.net.