The Department of Environmental Protection recently awarded a $53,200 grant to Berks County for the control of West Nile Virus. Other local counties that also received grants to control the virus include Lancaster, Lebanon, Chester, Schuylkill, and Montgomery. A total of $2.05 million was awarded to Pennsylvania counties.
Don’t be alarmed; this is an annual grant and not associated with any particular outbreak of the virus. The Department of Environmental Protection awards the grant to help protect the public from the health risk based on historic outbreaks of the disease. However, it’s always a good idea to learn more and take personal safety precautions if you will be exposed to conditions that harbor the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 cases of West Nile Virus were reported in Pennsylvania during 2014, with one resulting in death. The CDC also reports that the majority of people to contract the virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people infected will develop a fever and associated symptoms such as body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, or fatigue. A very small amount (less than 1%) may develop a serious neurological disease. There is no vaccine or treatment for West Nile Virus.
Parks and Lakes Local to Berks County
West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans through infected mosquitoes. As Berks and surrounding counties are home to many parks, nature trails, lakes, creeks, and natural water sources, there are ample opportunities for mosquitoes to gather.
Locations local to Berks County that may host large quantities of mosquitoes include Blue Marsh Lake in Leesport, Chambers Lake in Chester County, French Creek State Park in Berks and Chester Counties, Little Schuylkill in Schuylkill Country, Maiden Creek in Berks County, and Tulpehocken Creek in Lebanon and Berks Counties.
Blue Marsh Lake in particular is an extremely popular destination for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, hiking, biking, swimming, and other recreational activities during the summer months. Unfortunately, the summer months are also peak mosquito season. If you participate in outdoor activities at Blue Marsh Lake or any other local park, it’s always a good idea to take safety precautions against West Nile Virus.
West Nile Virus Prevention Tips
- Take all necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites
- Use insect repellents according to the label instructions
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when weather and activity permits
- Limit recreational activity during peak mosquito biting hours from dusk until dawn
- Be aware that mosquitoes are especially attracted to still and standing water
- Report dead birds to local authorities because this could be a sign of a virus outbreak
To learn more about West Nile Virus, file an excessive mosquito complaint, or report a dead bird you can visit Pennsylvania’s West Nile Virus Control Program online or call 717-346-8234.
About DAK Self Storage
DAK Self Storage is a locally owned and operated self storage facility in Leesport, PA. We are nearby Blue Marsh Lake and offer convenient storage for boating, fishing, and other recreational equipment.