The Allegheny County Health Department is urging residents to eliminate mosquito breeding sites on their property to protect themselves and their neighbors from the West Nile virus.
The county has reported its first positive mosquito sample of the year, which was collected last week in Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood.
“The appearance of West Nile virus and the ongoing spread of the Asian Tiger mosquito are reminders for people across Allegheny County to get rid of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. This weekend would be a good time to roll up your sleeves and get started,” said Acting Health Director Dr. Ron Voorhees.
The public can help reduce the mosquito population by taking these measures and eliminating stagnant water from their yards and neighborhoods:
• Get rid of items that hold water -- tires, buckets, flowerpots, junk piles and cans.
• Clean out roof gutters and storm drains.
• Change the water in birdbaths once or twice a week.
• Empty and turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
• Drain water from plastic coverings on swimming pools and outdoor furniture.
• Properly filter/chlorinate backyard swimming pools; dismantle those not in use.
• Fill in depressions on your lawn to prevent accumulation of water.
• Repair leaky outdoor faucets that can create a pool of stagnant water.
Failure to eliminate stagnant water and mosquito breeding conditions on a voluntary basis can lead to a violation notice and a Health Department enforcement action requiring the property owner to clean up.
People can also protect themselves from mosquito bites by closing openings to their house, using window screens, applying insect repellent on exposed skin, wearing long-sleeve tops and pants, and minimizing time spend outdoors during daylight hours, especially at dawn and dusk when most mosquitoes are more likely to bite.