What is Pennsylvania Doing?
In 2000, West Nile virus appeared in Pennsylvania for the first time. To help detect, track and control the virus, the Pennsylvania departments of Health, Environmental Protection (DEP) and Agriculture developed a comprehensive surveillance program.
Pennsylvania's plan has three parts- education, surveillance and, if the surveillance program determines there is a risk, the control of mosquitoes.
The Department of Health is conducting laboratory testing to confirm West Nile virus cases, and monitoring any possible human cases. In addition, it has been working with health care providers across the state to educate them about the signs and symptoms of West Nile virus.
DEP has been working with representatives from all 67 counties to develop a comprehensive mosquito surveillance and control network. Since the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, early detection and control is key. It is also collecting and testing dead bird samples.
The Department of Agriculture is monitoring animal populations for any signs of the virus.
Since 2000, Pennsylvania's State budget has included funding to prevent and mitigate the potential public-health effects of West Nile on the citizens of the Commonwealth. The funds provide necessary staffing and an improved epidemiological infrastructure to monitor and control the virus.
Residents play an important role in Pennsylvania's West Nile surveillance efforts. Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, any time is a good time to eliminate water left in flowerpots, cans, birdbaths, small ponds, and/or tire piles.
A multi-agency cooperative effort between: