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 When the word “bioterrorism” comes up in conversation, an anthrax-laced envelope might come to mind. But what about terrorists utilizing mosquitos to spread a virus?

That’s the type of bio-warfare the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research is focusing on fighting.

A $7.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, allows researchers to accelerate the development of drugs and vaccines against alphaviruses, a group of about 30 different viruses that are mainly transmitted by mosquitoes.

The infected blood suckers are back.

The first two West Nile virus-carrying mosquitos of the season were detected last week in Erie and Adams counties, signaling the start of what could be a long summer.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are advising people to take steps toward mosquito prevention.