Mosquitoes collected in the southeastern part of the City of Erie on Sept. 4 tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Erie County Department of Health.

This is the sixth mosquito group to test positive for West Nile in Erie County in 2019.

The first mosquitoes to test positive for the virus this year were collected in Harborcreek Township on July 2. The second and third groups were collected in Harborcreek Township and the southeast area of the City of Erie on Aug. 20. The fourth group was collected on Aug. 29 in Millcreek Township with the fifth in Harborcreek Township on Aug. 29.

At this time, no human cases have been reported in Erie County.

The Erie County Department of Health will monitor mosquitoes in the area that tested positive. Additional control work will be done depending on the number and types of mosquitoes collected, the Health Department said.

Certain species of mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus. When transmitted to people, it can cause an infection that can cause inflammation of the brain. Anyone can get the virus, but older adults and people with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of developing severe illness because their bodies have a harder time fighting off disease.

You can reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and neighborhood by eliminating standing water, in which mosquitoes can breed. Here are other guidelines:

  • Dispose of any refuse that can hold water – such as tin cans, containers, and in particular used tires. Tires have become the most important mosquito breeding in the country.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers, and check uncovered junk piles.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters every year, and check storm drains, leaky faucets, and window wells.
  • Empty accumulated water from wheelbarrows, boats, cargo trailers, toys, and ceramic pots. If possible, turn them over when not using them.
  • Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths, ornamental pools, water gardens, and swimming pools or their covers. Ornamental pools can be aerated or stocked with fish. Swimming pools should be cleaned and chlorinated when not in use.
  • Products such as “mosquito dunks” can be obtained from garden centers.
  • Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight.”
  • Use the proper type of light outside: incandescent lights attract mosquitoes, while florescent lights neither attract nor repel mosquitoes.
  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening when mosquitoes are most active. If you must go outdoors, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Insect repellants with Deet, when applied (sparingly) to exposed skin, deter mosquitoes from biting. Spray thin clothing with repellent since mosquitoes can bite through it. Be sure to follow all directions on product labels.
  • Mosquitoes are repelled by high winds, so electric fans may provide some relief at outdoor events.

Learn more about West Nile Virus »