TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

DEP awards approximately $2.1 million in West Nile Virus grants to 26 counties

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced on Tuesday that 26 Pennsylvania counties will receive a portion of approximately $2.1 million to fund programs that will control West Nile Virus.

"These county grants ensure that mosquito populations stay in check to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus," DEP Secretary Christopher Abruzzo said. "Locally-based programs play an important role in protecting the public from this perennial problem."

Money from the grants will be used to fund surveying and controlling mosquitoes. A combination of education, source reduction and mosquito control will be employed to reduce the risk of WNV.

Larval control products made from soil bacteria are used to control mosquito populations. Man-made adult mosquito control products are used when mosquitoes produce an elevated risk of spreading infection.

Residents are encouraged to remove standing water to prepare for and help control mosquitoes.

The DEP reported 1,213 mosquito samples, 28 avian samples, two horses and 11 humans were infected with WNV last year.

The DEP said that most people bitten by an infected mosquito will not develop symptoms. Of those that do develop symptoms, one in 150 will develop West Nile encephalitis, which can cause swelling in the brain and death.

The grant is funded by the General Fund, and was dispersed to each county based on need.