A mosquito-borne disease is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. These diseases may be caused by a virus, also known as arboviruses, or can be caused by parasites. Several of the mosquito species found in Pennsylvania are capable of transmitting diseases to humans, horses, and other animals. Symptoms of these illnesses can range from mild to very severe.
Over the last decade, the most common mosquito-borne illness in Pennsylvania has been caused by West Nile virus; however
travel-associated mosquito-borne diseases (such as Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue fever and Malaria) are also of public health concern and are reported in residents each year.
Mosquito-borne diseases are most common during the summer and fall months when mosquitoes are active. Prevention of mosquito-borne illness includes taking steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home and the regular use of insect repellants. Mosquito control is both a public and personal responsibility.
What You Can Do
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters; they can also bite at night.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Reduce Mosquito Breeding Areas
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still or stagnant water found in catch basins, roof gutters clogged with leaves, old tires, flower pots, bird baths, swimming pool covers, buckets, cans, barrels, and other places where water can be trapped. Tenants, property managers, and homeowners can greatly reduce the mosquito population by removing mosquito breeding areas on their property.
Remove stagnant water from your property
Empty or treat any items that hold water, such as flower pots, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, cans, and barrels.
Clean rain gutters, leaves in downspouts, and pooled water on flat roofs.
Remove unused tires and other items that could collect water. Remove containers that may hold water in places that are hard to see, such as under bushes, porches, decks, or stairs.