|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECOMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Aug. 25, 2008Department of Environmental Protection
Department of Health
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
CONTACT:Deborah Fries (DEP)
Holli Senior (Health)
DEP TO CONDUCT AERIAL MOSQUITO TREATMENTS TO STEM WEST NILE VIRUS IN SOUTHEASTERN COUNTIES Sprayings Set for Tuesday, Wednesday Nights
NORRISTOWN – To protect the public against mosquito-borne West Nile virus, the Department of Environmental Protection will conduct targeted aerial sprayings between 8 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 26 and Wednesday, Aug. 27, in portions of Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
Certain mosquito species carry the West Nile virus, which, when transmitted to people, can cause West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. One human case of the West Nile virus has been confirmed this year in a 27-year-old Montgomery County woman.
“The West Nile infection rates we’ve detected among mosquitoes this summer are the highest we’ve seen in nine years,” said Joseph A. Feola, the department’s southeast regional director. “Typically, we see the transmission rates of the virus from mosquitoes to humans reach its highest levels in mid- to late-August, which makes it imperative for us to act now.”
Feola noted aerial treatments are recommended when five out of every 1,000 mosquitoes tests positive for the virus. Infection rates in the targeted areas all exceed the aerial treatment recommendation threshold or have a significant population of mosquito species that could become infected.
The decision to apply treatments from the air was made in consultation with county West Nile virus program coordinators, the Department of Health, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Weather permitting, residents in the targeted areas can expect to see low-flying airplanes that will spray Resmethrin, a synthetic pyrethroid product, at the rate of .0035 pounds per acre, or an amount equal to one-third of a teaspoon. The spray rate is half of the amount approved for safe application by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and should have no adverse effects to ornamental ponds or plant life.
While Resmethrin is considered safe with little risk of toxicity, the Department of Health recommends some basic steps the public may take to reduce possible exposure to it:
•Children and pregnant women should take care to avoid exposure when practical. If possible, remain inside or avoid the area whenever spraying takes place and for about thirty minutes after spraying. That time period will greatly reduce the likelihood of your breathing pesticide in air.
•Close windows and doors and turn off window air-conditioning units or close their vents to circulate indoor air before spraying begins. Windows and air-conditioner vents can be reopened about 30 minutes after spraying.
•Anyone experiencing adverse reactions to pesticides should seek medical care or call the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.
DEP will report on all spraying activities and will make the latest information available at www.westnile.state.pa.us. The public may also call 484-250-5824 for a recorded message that details upcoming aerial spraying events. The recorded message will be updated daily and will be available through the end of this week.
The best way to control mosquitoes is still to get rid of standing water on your property. Tips for eliminating mosquito-breeding areas are available at www.westnile.state.pa.us.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Aerial treatments will be provided in the following townships and zip codes from 8 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 26 and Wednesday, Aug. 27.
Upper Southampton Township
Lower Southampton Township
Langhorne Manor Borough
Upper Darby Township
East Lansdowne Borough
Clifton Heights Borough
Upper Darby Township
Sharon Hill Borough
Upper Moreland Township
East Norriton Township
Lower Moreland Township
Bryn Athyn Borough
West Norriton Township
Upper Merion Township
Rock Ledge Borough
West Conshohocken Borough
Lower Merion Township
Philadelphia County ZIP codes