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What Can I Do?

West Nile Virus is a disease that is spread by infected mosquitos. So the best defense against the West Nile Virus is not giving them a place to breed.

Here are some things you can do around your home.

   Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have collected on your property.

        Pay special attention to discarded tires. Stagnant water in tires are where most mosquitoes breed.

      • The PA WNV Surveillance and Control Program is NOT responsible for waste tires. The PA DEP Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management handles waste tires. For more information on waste tires, contact Neil Burdick at 717-787-7381. To report waste tire piles, please contact your regional office.

        Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.

        Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.

        Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. Stagnant water in a wading pool becomes a place for mosquitoes to breed.

        Turn over wheelbarrows and don't let water stagnate in birdbaths. Both provide breeding habitats for domestic mosquitoes.

        Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.

It is not necessary to limit any outdoor activities, unless local officials advise you otherwise. However, you can and should try to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. In addition to reducing stagnant water in your yard, make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.

If West Nile virus is found in your area, here are some ways you can protect yourself.

        Take normal steps to prevent insect bites.

        Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active.

        Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors. Wash all treated skin and clothing when returning indoors.

        Click here for the CDC's latest information on the use of DEET in Insect Repellent Use and Safety.

        Remember, electromagnetic and ultrasound devices and Vitamin B are not effective in preventing mosquito bites. For more information on mosquito control myths, click here.

For more information, call 1-877-PA-HEALTH or your local West Nile Coordinator.

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