West Nile Virus identified in mosquito sample in Chester County

July 19, 2016
Chester County Health Department, News Release #6
For more information call 610-344-6752

West Nile Virus identified in mosquito sample in Chester County

West Chester, PA – The Chester County Health Department is informing residents that a mosquito sample collected in Tredyffrin Township on July 7, 2016 has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

This is the first mosquito sample that has tested positive in Chester County in 2016. The Chester County Health Department sets mosquito traps to collect and test adult mosquitoes for WNV as part of routine surveillance. Traps are placed in highly populated areas, known mosquito breeding areas, and in areas where a resident has previously been identified as having a confirmed case of WNV infection. Traps are also placed in response to complaints from residents regarding high levels of mosquito activity. The Chester County Health Department will continue to monitor these areas as well as surrounding areas and will consider mosquito control activities when appropriate.

The chances of contracting WNV from an infected mosquito are small and chances of becoming seriously ill are even smaller. However, the Chester County Health Department encourages county residents to “Make you and your home a bite-free zone”, reducing the risk of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. Because mosquito-borne diseases are spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, residents can reduce their risk by using insect repellent and other personal protection and getting rid of standing water on their property.

The Health Department advises:

Limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk during warmer months since most types of mosquitoes bite most frequently during these times. Be aware though that some types of mosquitoes bite most frequently during the daytime.

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and socks. Choose clothing that is light colored and made of tightly woven material.

Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside. Continue reading

Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks. The TENDR Consensus Statement

NIH, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 124, issue 7, July 2016

SUMMARY: Children in America today are at an unacceptably high risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders that affect the brain and nervous system including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities, and other learning and behavioral disabilities. These are complex disorders with multiple causes—genetic, social, and environmental. The contribution of toxic chemicals to these disorders can be prevented. APPROACH: Leading scientific and medical experts, along with children’s health advocates, came together in 2015 under the auspices of Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks to issue a call to action to reduce widespread exposures to chemicals that interfere with fetal and children’s brain development. Based on the available scientific evidence, the TENDR authors have identified prime examples of toxic chemicals and pollutants that increase children’s risks for neurodevelopmental disorders. These include chemicals that are used extensively in consumer products and that have become widespread in the environment. Some are chemicals to which children and pregnant women are regularly exposed, and they are detected in the bodies of virtually all Americans in national surveys conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vast majority of chemicals in industrial and consumer products undergo almost no testing for developmental neurotoxicity or other health effects….

keep reading at Environmental Health Perspectives

What we want to avoid 1) overturned lids

West Chester Borough ordinances require waterproof lids on trashcans:

§ 62-3 Disposal regulations…F

Rubbish or refuse shall be stored and placed out for collection in waterproof metal or plastic containers with handles which shall not exceed a capacity of 35 gallons. All containers shall be provided with tight-fitting lids which are windproof, ratproof and flyproof. The lid shall not, however, be roped, chained or permanently affixed to the container unless hinged by the factory. All containers must contain the street address of the owner in clear, legible and conspicuous writing on the outside of the container. Any garbage, rubbish or refuse that is not contained and/or placed in a waterproof metal or plastic container with handles not exceeding a capacity of 35 gallons or in a disposal bag will not be collected by the Borough.

If lids are missing, water can accumulate in the open trash container unless it has holes drilled in the bottom. And furthermore, even if the can is turned over, an unattended lid can gather water and host mosquito larvae:

Trash can lid with larvae

The Shaker Heights plan

Shaker Heights, Ohio, initiated a successful mosquito control program in 2002. They outlined a plan with 6 levels of response, with the highest being the type of health crisis that suggests that pesticide spraying is necessary. Their Health Director, Sandi Hurley, reported to Don’tsprayme in June of 2016 that, during the 14 years that these guidelines have been in place, Shaker Heights has had no serious cases of West Nile virus and no health emergency that required spraying.

That community, which is about 6 square miles with a population of 28,000 people, works together cooperatively to keep Shaker Heights safe by reducing standing water and mosquitoes and by not spraying pesticides. One of their chief lines of defense is larviciding all storm drains. West Chester, working with the County, has been larviciding storm drains on a selective basis in 2016.

To download their 6-step plan, of which we are preparing a modified version to recommend for West Chester, click here: Shaker Heights WNV Response Plan

EPA: Pesticide Environmental Stewardship

Managed by the US EPA, “The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) is a voluntary membership program that promotes the adoption of innovative, alternative pest control practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). In becoming a PESP member, you join more than 250 nationally-recognized organizations committed to reducing the human health and environmental risks associated with pesticide use.”

From the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Application Form:

By completing this application for membership in PESP, we affirm our commitment to the following:

We believe that environmental stewardship is an integral part of pest management practices and will continue to work toward pest management practices that reduce the risks to humans and the environment. As part of our voluntary participation in the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, this organization will develop a Strategic Approach to pesticide risk reduction and implement annual Activities that fall within this Strategic Approach.

We understand that in return, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will seek to foster, fund and promote, through research, education, and other means, the adoption of alternative pest management technologies and practices that enhance pest management and reduce pesticide risk.

The Chester County Health Department is a member of PESP.