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Mild weather may be to blame for earliest case of West Nile

Published On: May 10 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 11 2012 04:59:36 PM CDT

The mild weather could be responsible for the earliest appearance ever of the West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania, state officials said.

EXETER TWP., Pa. -

As Dan Nguyen coached his son at the tennis courts at Lorane Hollow Park in Exeter Twp., Berks Co., on Friday, he did have one concern -- mosquitoes.

"A little concerned," said Nguyen. "It's not to the point where we got hospitalized by the mosquitoes yet, but it is a concern."

Nguyen may have good reason to worry.

The state on Thursday reported its earliest detection of a West Nile virus-carrying mosquito since testing began in 2000.

The infected bug, officials said, was found in Exeter Township on May 3.

The good news is that it was only detected in a mosquito, and no incidents of infections to humans have been reported, but many said they will be on guard anyway.

"I guess it's not shocking based upon the weather patterns we've had," said Christine Anderton. "So I'm not surprised."

In fact, officials blame the early appearance of the West Nile on the unseasonably warm weather in March.

State officials said efforts are already under way to attack the problem.

"The spraying that we do is for larva, and we use Bti, which is a naturally occurring bacterium and methofreeze, which takes care of the mosquito larva," said Amanda Witman, Pa. Department of Environmental Protection.

Experts said the West Nile Virus does have the potential to become fatal, and since there is no human vaccine, experts said your best protection against infection is by taking precautions.

For more information on the best defenses against the West Nile virus, visit westnile.state.pa.us.