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Several Bucks County communities have mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile Virus in the most recent results, state officials said Wednesday.

The following towns had positive samples Wednesday, the Pennsylvania's West Nile Control Program announced:

  • Bensalem Township (2)
  • Bristol Township
  • Falls Township
  • Lower Makefield Township
  • Quakertown Borough
  • Warminster Township

The testing is done as part of routine surveillance for the virus. Mosquitoes are trapped around the county in breeding areas and are tested daily.

Bucks County officials are planning a spray Thursday in parts of Penndel and Middletown Township. A spray was done last week in Bensalem.

According to the CDC, about one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of West Nile Virus by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites, the CDC said.

West Nile virus appeared for the first time in Pennsylvania in birds, mosquitoes and a horse in 2000.

It is most commonly spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. It can cause febrile illness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), according to the CDC.

The following guidelines have been offered to help residents minimize their risk:

  • Limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk during warmer months since most types of mosquitoes bite most frequently during these times. Be aware though that some types of mosquitoes bite most frequently during the daytime.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and socks. Choose clothing that is light colored and made of tightly woven material.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside.
  • If you choose to use insect repellents, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol.
  • Cover or empty containers such as trash cans, wading pools, wheelbarrows, and pots.
  • Turn containers upside down when not in use so they don't collect water.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers.
  • Get rid of old tires.
  • Change the water in bird baths every three to five days.
  • Check storm drains, window wells, and underneath leaky faucets for standing water.
  • Clean roof gutters every year.
  • Aerate and/or stock ornamental ponds with fish.
  • Keep swimming pools clean and chlorinated. Make sure that water does not gather on swimming pool covers.
  • Treat a pool of standing water that cannot be drained with Bti products. Bti is a naturally-occurring bacterial product that kills mosquito larvae and is safe for people, pets, aquatic life, and plants. You can find these products at local lawn and garden supply stores.
  • Make sure that window and door screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Run electric fans nearby when spending time outdoors. Mosquitoes have trouble flying in strong winds.
  • Replace outdoor lights with yellow "bug" lights, which tend to attract fewer mosquitoes.

Image via Shutterstock

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