Franklin Co. to get 2nd West Nile spraying

September 12, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Mosquito spraying resumes today in Franklin County, which leads the state in the number of positive West Nile virus samples and where a 5-year-old girl fell sick with the disease earlier this month.

A Pennsylvania Department of Health spokesman said his latest update on the child indicated she was recovering at home after being hospitalized.

He confirmed that a 73-year-old Lackawanna County woman died over the weekend, becoming Pennsylvania's second West Nile virus fatality in 2006. The state had 25 human cases and two deaths in 2005.

As of Monday afternoon, Franklin County had 50 positive cases of West Nile virus through human, bird, mosquito and sentinel chicken testing. It led the state with three times as many cases as the second-highest county, Erie.


Other counties are starting to see positive results at a higher rate, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Spokeswoman Sandra Roderick said.

The vast majority of Franklin County's positive samples came from mosquito testing, although officials do not know what is contributing to the virus' prominence in the county, Roderick said.

"We keep having to postpone our spraying due to weather," Roderick said.

Franklin County has been aerially sprayed with Pyrocide 7396 once this year, and the DEP has scheduled trucks for misting today in Waynesboro, Greencastle and Mont Alto boroughs and Washington and Antrim townships.

"We always spray in the evening," Roderick said. "That's when mosquitoes are on wing (and) flying."

Otherwise, state officials are anxiously awaiting the first serious frost of the season.

"It literally kills (mosquitoes) off or they go into hibernation for the winter," Health Department Spokesman Richard McGarvey said.

2003 was Pennsylvania's peak year for human cases, with 237 confirmations and nine deaths, according to McGarvey.

He's hopeful that declines since show an increased public awareness about wearing protective clothing and taking steps to eliminate areas prone to stagnant water.

"People can do some things, and probably are doing some things, to protect themselves," McGarvey said.

He said that for every 150 people bitten by an infected mosquito, only one develops symptoms. Those symptoms differentiate from flu by including stupor, coma, tremors, convulsions and paralysis.

Symptoms are usually seen within two weeks of a bite, McGarvey said.

Pennsylvania's official West Nile virus Web site can be accessed at

The Herald-Mail Articles