The Allegheny County Health Department will spray for mosquitoes from 8:00 to 9:00 PM, weather permitting, Thursday, September 1, in certain areas of South Homewood, Point Breeze, Homewood Cemetery and Wilkinsburg. Forty-six samples taken there have tested positive for West Nile Virus since early July.
Last year, 28 people in the state were diagnosed with West Nile Virus, but the very first probable case this year was just reported in eastern Pennsylvania's Lebanon County, according to Health Department spokesperson Guillermo Cole. The last confirmed human case in Allegheny County was in 2007. Cole says no infected birds have even been found this year.
Certain dead birds can be evidence of West Nile Virus in an area, so the department would like reports of dead crows, hawks, owls, blue jays, falcons, ravens and buzzards, especially if there are five or more in one place.
Mosquitoes turn to humans for their blood meals more in late summer and early fall because birds are beginning to move south, according to Cole. The Health Department urges people to reduce mosquito breeding opportunities by getting rid of standing water in containers, drains or gutters. People should protect themselves: Remember mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Limit exposure of bare skin. Use repellent on exposed skin.
The pesticide sprayed, according to the department, destroys adult mosquitoes but is harmless to people and pets.