DEP Releases Update on Zika Surveillance and Response, Says Simmons
NORRISTOWN – The
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released
results of surveillance for Aedes mosquitoes, which
have been found to be transmitters of the Zika virus, said Rep. Justin Simmons
(R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton). At this time, there
have not been any cases of Zika transmitted locally in Pennsylvania, nor have
mosquitoes tested positive for the virus.
Twenty-six counties in Pennsylvania have active surveillance sites for albopictus mosquitoes, commonly known as Asian Tiger mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are predominantly found in southern and eastern counties. There have not been any specimens of Aedes aegypti collected, which are the primary carrier of Zika in South America. Aedes aegypti have not been found in Pennsylvania since 2002.
In addition, in early August, DEP and the Philadelphia Health Department and the Chester County Health Department responded to two imported clusters of travel associated Zika virus cases per the protocols outlined in the Zika Reponse Plan. Mosquitoes collected in the Philadelphia cluster response activities were tested for Zika and all samples came back negative. Mosquito trapping in Chester County did not find significant populations of the Asian tiger mosquito and samples were not tested.
The following counties in southeast Pennsylvania have recorded pest levels of Aedes albopictus at least one week during July: (Pest levels are defined as greater than 24 female Aedes albopictus per trapping event):
DEP recommends that residents do simple activities to reduce mosquito activity in their areas:
• Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar containers that hold water.
• Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
• Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year as the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
• Turn over wheelbarrows and plastic wading pools when not in use and don't let water stagnate in birdbaths.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers.
• Wear insect repellant during times of mosquito activity. Aedes mosquitoes are active during daylight hours.
• Keep doors and windows tightly closed, or ensure that screens do not have holes or tears that can allow mosquitoes to get inside the house.
According to DEP, these mosquitoes are weak fliers, so if they are seen, they are likely breeding nearby. Simple precautions to eliminate potential habitat and avoid contact can lead to a safe and itch-free summer.
Representative Justin Simmons
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs
RepSimmons.com / Facebook.com/RepSimmons