West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that produces severe neurological symptoms in about 1% of humans that become infected. The bite of a mosquito infected with WNV is the way in which humans acquire the disease. There are about 50 species of mosquitoes in Pennsylvania, and of these, 12 are capable of infecting humans with WNV. Residents should eliminate sources of standing water such as unused swimming pools, stagnant ornamental ponds, poorly functioning roof gutters and, especially, used tires. Please contact the County Planning & Community Development Office if you are aware of wet areas that are breeding large amounts of mosquitoes so that samples can be trapped for identification and testing.
The Centre County West Nile Virus Surveillance and Control season begins in mid-April and ends in October. The Surveillance and Control Program is managed by the County Planning & Community Development Office utilizing County employees and is funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The program consists of trapping larval and adult mosquitoes in populated areas of the County and shipping them to PADEP in Harrisburg, where they are identified as to species, and the adults of species capable of transmitting WNV are tested for the virus. If a positive mosquito is found, or large numbers of a species capable of infecting humans are found, County personnel are licensed to treat breeding areas with pesticides.
Additionally, the Office is responsible for reporting, collecting, and submitting dead birds to the State for WNV testing. If you would like to voice concerns about dead birds or West Nile Virus, please contact the County Planning & Community Development Office. PADEP this year is limiting testing to crows, blue jays, hawks, and owls. PADEP typically begins accepting dead birds for testing on the 1st of May each year.
The state funding of the County WNV program requires the program to focus on finding and treating WNV mosquitoes, and not function as a general nuisance mosquito spray program. However, if mosquito numbers are found to be unacceptably high, even of a non-WNV species, program administrators are prepared to provide adult mosquito spraying at no cost.
Centre County WNV Program Coordinator
Centre County Planning & Community Development Office
Location: Willowbank County Office Building, 420 Holmes Street, Bellefonte PA 16823-1488
Phone: (814) 355-6791 Fax: (814) 355-8661
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday