No trace yet of West Nile virus in Armstrong
Despite a large mosquito population, state officials have yet to find traces of the West Nile virus in Armstrong County this summer.
The Department of Environmental Protection collected 44 mosquitoes, and tested 23 of them, this summer, and found none were infected, according to Amanda Witman, a spokeswoman for the organization.
This year, due to a rainy spring and summer, the mosquito population is very high, but the West Nile virus is not prevalent, Witman said.
“Last year was a record year for West Nile virus in Pennsylvania, so to have more mosquitoes this year, with fewer cases of the virus is impressive,” Witman said. “We believe the virus is just not as present in this year's population, due to the lower temperatures this spring.”
West Nile virus was most prevalent across Pennsylvania last year, when the DEP found 3,656 infected mosquitoes across 52 counties. The organization reported 60 human cases of West Nile virus in 2012.
According to DEP records, the last time officials found traces of the West Nile virus in Armstrong County was Sept. 1, 2011, when one infected mosquito was found in Cowanshannock.
This year, the DEP confirmed 145 cases of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus across the Commonwealth.
According to the DEP website, 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus show no symptoms.
The most common symptoms include fever, head and body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands and a rash, lasting a few days to several weeks. More severe symptoms could include blindness, disorientation, coma, numbness, paralysis, stupor or tremors.
Officials in Allegheny County, which received reports of three mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus this year, fear a more aggressive breed of mosquito could cause the virus to spread quickly.
According to the Allegheny County Health Department, the Asian Tiger mosquito was found in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood.
The mosquito, which originates in Southeast Asia and has a black-and-white striped body and legs, is an aggressive biter from dawn to dusk. It could transmit the virus and other mosquito-borne diseases to humans and domestic animals, according to Ron Voorhees, Allegheny County's acting health director.
Witman said DEP officials have found the Asian Tiger mosquito across Pennsylvania, but it is unlikely it will contribute to the spread of West Nile virus.
“Last year, not a single mosquito with West Nile virus was one of the Asian Tigers,” Witman said. “It's unlikely the Asian Tigers will carry the virus, but they tend to pose more of a problem for folks trying to enjoy the outdoors.”
Although the DEP plans to conduct large-scale sprays to control mosquitoes in Bucks and Berks counties, the organization does not plan to spray in Armstrong County.
“We won't spray for mosquitoes until we have confirmed cases of West Nile virus,” she said.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kittanning razes condemned homes it bought at tax sale
- Festival benefits Light Up Night, fire department in Ford City
- Students, ALS win when Shannock Valley principal takes Ice Bucket Challenge
- Workers shaken by news Kittanning Foodland will close
- Funding cuts leave Armstrong food banks operating on ‘wing and a prayer’
- Uniforms set Kittanning workers apart on the job
- Bethel man kills himself in front of state police
- ‘Caring hands’ reach out to Manor woman with crippling disease
- East Franklin soldier gets first award founded by actor Sinise