West Nile Virus Found in Overwintering Mosquito in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Lehigh County West Nile virus (WNV) personnel detected WNV in a Catasaqua Borough mosquito pool.

The West Nile virus workers were collecting samples to determine the status of the virus in overwintering mosquitoes. Officials emphasized that this species of mosquito, Culex pipiens, is not active this time of year, and poses no biting danger.

Overwintering mosquitoes in the Northeast typically enter a hibernating state. Pennsylvania officials say that the mosquitoes currently are dormant and inactive, and a few warm days (interspersed with cold winter days) will not change their biting activity. These mosquitoes will remain inactive in terms of presenting any biting danger until warm weather returns to stay, usually during the month of April.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced proposed grants to counties for 2003 for battling WNV. Surveillance of overwintering mosquitoes will continue, and surveillance and control for active mosquitoes will begin throughout the state in April.

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