The surveillance and control activities of the Berks County West Nile Virus Control Program will begin again in April of 2012. Dead bird samples will not be collected prior to May 1st.
In 2011, West Nile Virus was detected in the following locations:Amity Twp., Bern Twp., Caernarvon Twp., Exeter Twp., Heidelberg Twp., Marion Twp., Shillington Borough, Sinking Spring Borough, Spring Twp., Tulpehocken Twp., and Wyomissing Borough.
Berks County WNV Hot Zone status: Overwintering
For a current map of West Nile Virus activity in the state visit: WNV activity map
For information on WNV risk in your area, visit:WNV Hot Zones
In 1999, West Nile Virus (WNV) was detected for the first time in the United States in New York City. This led to the startup of a multi-agency network for WNV surveillance and prevention in Pennsylvania. The Berks County Conservation District has participated in the state-funded WNV Program since 2000 when Pennsylvania started its program. WNV was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2000 and in Berks County in 2001.
Presently, the WNV Program is designed to reduce the risk of WNV and utilizes an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) strategy that includes education, surveillance, mosquito-breeding habitat reduction, natural controls, and application of larval and adult mosquito treatments. The WNV program runs from early April to late October, which coincides with the active mosquito season. WNV is typically transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Mosquitoes are trapped at many locations throughout the county. Mosquitoes species are identified and tested for the presence of WNV. The Conservation District utilizes management techniques to help reduce mosquito populations and the incidence of WNV.
Dead Bird Monitoring
Dead birds Should Be Reported The Berks County Conservation District (610) 372-4657
or report on-line at http://www.westnile.state.pa.us/
Birds can be collected for WNV testing, from May 1 through October 1. If you are interested in submitting a dead bird for testing, call your West Nile County Coordinator to see if your county is still accepting submissions and for instructions on how and were to submit.
1. Only Crows, Jays, Hawks, and Owls are accepted to WNV testing.
2. Birds must be dead less than 48 hours with no obvious signs of trauma.
3. Place ice packs on top of bird and place a bucket over it, until it can be submitted. Do not freeze the specimen.
4. Avoid bare-hand contact when handling dead birds. Use rubber gloves when handling a dead bird. If you do not have gloves, insert your hand into a plastic bag, grasp the bird carefully and invert the bag over the bird. Each bird should be placed in a tied plastic bag, and then placed inside a second tied bag.
5. If you are not submitting the bird for testing, the bagged bird can be placed in the trash.
What You Can Do To Help!
Helping to prevent the spread of WNV is as simple as eliminating standing water from around your house and yard. Simple steps such as eliminating household items that can collect water can greatly reduce the potential risk of West Nile Virus in your area. Old buckets, toys, tarps, and tires all hold enough water to keep mosquitoes alive and developing right under your nose. Remember to keep rain gutters clear; check birdbaths, flowerpots, and wading pools. The best and most effective way to prevent mosquitoes from breeding is to take care of your own house and yard. Following these practices takes away the environment the mosquito larvae need to live and grow – STAGNATE WATER! Reducing these breeding habitats helps to protect you and your family.
*REMEMBER WATER SITTING LONGER THAN 4 DAYS CAN PRODUCE MOSQUITOES!*
Any questions regarding the West Nile Virus Program in Berks County can be directed to the Berks County West Nile Virus Program Coordinator at 610-372-4657.
Other Sources of Information
· PA Department of Environmental Protection http://www.westnile.state.pa.us/
· PA Department of Health http://www.health.state.pa.us 1-(877)-PA-HEALTH (724-3258)
· Penn State Pesticide Education Program http://www.pested.psu.edu/issues/wnv/
· Center for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
· American Mosquito Control Association http://www.mosquito.org
· Rutgers University Entomology http://www-rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/disease.htm