Mosquitoes collected in northwest Erie have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, the Erie County Health Department said Friday.

The mosquitoes were collected July 27 and are the first to test positive in Erie County this year. 

No human cases have been reported in the county at this time.

In humans, the virus can cause an infection that causes the brain to swell.

Anyone can get the virus, but older adults and those with weak immune systems are most at risk of developing the illness, the health department said.

The Erie County Health Department provided the following tips to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes and neighborhoods.

  • Insect repellants with DEET can be applied (sparingly) to exposed skin. Spray thin clothing with repellent since mosquitoes can bite through it. Be sure to follow all directions on product labels.
  • 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.
  • Use the proper type of lighting outside. Incandescent lights attract mosquitoes, while florescent lights neither attract or repel mosquitoes. 
  • Products such as “mosquito dunks” can be obtained from garden centers.
  • Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight.”
  • Mosquitoes are repelled by high winds, so electric fans may provide some relief at outdoor events.
  • Reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes and neighborhoods by getting rid of standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
  • 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 site 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.

Additional information is available here.