West Nile Virus Program, Greene County Conservation District, Greene County Government, Pennsylvania

West Nile Virus Program, Greene County Conservation District
The West Nile Virus Control Program is a funded by the Greene County Conservation District in an effort to prevent the spread of this virus through an effective education plan, the monitoring of mosquito species and populations, and through the monitoring of WNV presence in birds, animals, and humans. Another vital part of the implementation of this program is the reduction of breeding areas.





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West Nile Virus Program
Lisa Snider, Conservation District Manager

Contact Person: Lindsay Kozloski, West Nile Surveillance Coordinator


Ben Franklin Building, Suite 204
22 West High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Phone: 724-852-5278 / Fax: 724-852-5341
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m., Monday—Friday


The West Nile Virus Control Program is a funded by the Greene County Conservation District in an effort to prevent the spread of this virus through an effective education plan, the monitoring of mosquito species and populations, and through the monitoring of WNV presence in birds, animals, and humans. Another vital part of the implementation of this program is the reduction of breeding areas.


What is West Nile Virus:

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that causes an infection in the brain called encephalitis, which makes the brain swell. West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York, and in Pennsylvania in 2000. Prior to that it had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia.

The virus has an incubation period in humans from three to 14 days; most people who are infected with the virus are typically asymptomatic; however, a small percentage will develop a severe infection (mostly children and elderly people).

The virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine for West Nile virus, so it is very important to prevent and control the number of mosquitoes around your home by not giving them a place to breed.

West Nile Virus cases in Pennsylvania occur primarily in mid-summer or early fall, although mosquito season is usually April-October.

REMEMBER — WATER SITTING LONGER THAN 4 DAYS CAN PRODUCE MOSQUITOES!


Past History of WNV found in Greene County:

In 2000, West Nile Virus appeared for the first time in Pennsylvania in birds, mosquitoes and a horse. To combat the spread of West Nile Virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, Pennsylvania has developed a comprehensive network, which covers all 67 counties, includes trapping mosquitoes, collecting dead birds and monitoring horses, people and sentinel chickens.

In 2004, Greene County tested positive to one infected mosquito. Again in August 2008, one positive mosquito was found. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection' West Nile Virus Program (www.westnile.state.pa.us), with the cooperation of the Greene County West Nile Virus Program conducted a Thermal Fog mosquito adulticide in effected sewage treatment plant located in Morgan Township. As precausionary measures, also treated were the sewage treatment plants in Waynesburg Borough and Franklin Township. (West Nile Virus Press Release and Mosquito Spraying Press Release).

In 2011, a sample of mosquitoes collected in Morgan Township, Greene County, tested positive for the West Nile Virus, according to information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Click here for news release.

In 2012, there were 60 cases of positive west nile virus cases found in humans (most ever) in Pennsylvania. The Greene County Conservation District again conducted monitoring throughout the county during the summer months.

August 2012, the state department of Environmental Protection and the Greene County Conservation District continue to monitor for West Nile Virus in the county after reporting a positive test in July (Center Township) for a virus-carrying mosquito. Click here for August 8 news article.

Aug. 30, 2013, a mosquito sample recently collected in Rices Landing, Greene County, has tested positive for the West Nile Virus, according to information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. West Nile virus reported in county; precaution warned >> read News Release here.

Remember to protect yourself when you are outdoors because the best way to prevent West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites in the first place. Anyone who has questions or concerns regarding West Nile can call the conservation district office at 724-852-5278.


Can Humans Get West Nile Virus?

The principle route of human infection with West Nile virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Additional routes of infection have become apparent during the 2002 West Nile epidemic. The virus has an incubation period in humans from 3 to 14 days. Most people who are infected with the virus are typically asympomatic however, a small percentage will develop a severe infection.

There is no vaccine for West Nile Virus so it is very important to prevent and control the number of mosquitoes around your home. Other methods of transmission include blood transfusion, organ transplantation, mother-to-child (ingestion of breast milk and transplacental) and occupational. It is important to note that other methods of transmission represent a very small proportion of cases.

Please remember to protect yourself when you are outdoors since the best way to prevent West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites in the first place.



West Nile Virus Treatment/Vaccine:

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for West Nile virus infection. Most people fully recover from the virus. In more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy is indicated, often involving hospitalization, intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support (ventilator), prevention of secondary infections (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.), and good nursing care.

West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans via mosquito vectors, though there are others as well, including blood transfusions, from mother to child in breastfeeding, and organ transplants. West Nile Virus belongs to the family Flavivirus genus. While West Nile Virus can cause fatal neurological disease in humans, 80% of people will not show any symptoms. These symptoms include fever, headaches, tiredness, and a skin rash (shown below). In severe cases of infection, neurological symptoms, ranging from headaches to paralysis, can occur. No human vaccine presently exists, though one has been developed for use with horses. (Source: http://humansandviruses.blogspot.com/2014/09/hey-everyone-along-with-humans-viruses.html (info and photo)

Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) for Home Use:

Bti for Home Use — State DEP and county mosquito control professionals have been using Bti, a naturally occurring bacteria, to kill mosquito larvae for years. This material is now becoming widely available for you to buy and use yourself at home.

Bti can be purchased in small, donut-shaped form, often called "mosquito dunks", which are useful in small areas of standing/stagnant water around your home, such as a birdbath or small puddle of water that may gather in a low spot on your property. A granular form of Bti is available, and effective for larger areas, such as backyard ponds.

Bti can be purchased in many lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and/or hardware and local retailers. The great thing about this bacteria is that it kills only mosquito and black fly larvae. It is not harmful to people, pets, aquatic life (such as fish) or plants.

The best way to control mosquitoes is to get rid of standing water on your property. And, make sure you follow all label instructions carefully if you use Bti at home. (Source: www.westnile.state.pa.us)


Prevention of West Nile Virus:
To reduce potential mosquito breeding sites, which can contribute to the spread of West Nile virus, the following precautions are recommended that you can do around your home:


  • Eliminate all low lying areas that allow for standing water.
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water holding containers that have collected on your property.
  • Eliminate or cut discarded tires. Stagnant water in tires is where most misquitoes breed.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers left outdoors.
  • Clean gutters annually. Having clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
  • Turn over any structures such as wading pools when not in use. Stagnant water in a wading pool becomes a place for mosquitoes to breed. And don't forget about your birdbaths and ornamental ponds!
  • Turn over tools, such as wheelbarrows, buckets, ceramic pots, etc. when not in use.
  • Aerate and chlorinate swimming pools; aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
  • Upgrade ornamental landscapes to prevent any standing water opportunities.
  • Clean out drainage ditches following rain storms so water can drain freely.


Stagnant water found at the end of a culvert leading into a retention area. These types of areas are notorious for producing mosquitoes. The best solution in this scenario is to create drainage path that allows the water to flow freely.

Photo courtesy of
www.westnile.state.pa.us website
It is not necessary to limit any outdoor activities, unless local officials advise you otherwise. However, you can and should try to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitos. In addition to reducing stagnant water in your yard, make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.


Surveillance of West Nile Virus:

Mosquitoes are collected in traps at many locations throughout the county. These samples are identified and tested for the presence of WNV. The Conservation District has a control program in place to help control mosquito populations should it become necessary, if the threat of WNV transmission is present. The image shown is a Gravid Trap which attracts female mosquitoes carrying eggs. (Click image to enlarge)



Relative links:


Frequently Asked Questions:
  • What can I do?
      West Nile Virus is a disease that is spread by infected mosquitos, so the best defense against the West Nile Virus is not giving them a place to breed. Additional action you can do, click here for some things you can do around your home (Pennsylvania's WNV Control Program)

  • What are the Symptoms of West Nile Virus?
      The principle route of human infection with West Nile virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Additional routes of infection have become apparent during the 2002 West Nile epidemic. It is important to note that these other methods of transmission represent a very small proportion of cases. Other methods of transmission include blood transfusion, organ transplantation, mother-to-child (ingestion of breast milk and transplacental) and occupational.

      The symptoms of severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. It is estimated that 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease.

      Symptoms of mild disease will generally last a few days. Symptoms of severe disease may last several weeks, although neurological effects may be permanent.

  • Is there treatment or a vaccine for the virus infection?
      There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the West Nile virus infection; nor is the a vaccine to prevent one for contacting the virus. Most people fully recover from the virus. In more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy is indicated, often involving hospitalization, intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support (ventilator), prevention of secondary infections (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.), and good nursing care. Bti for home use is useful in small areas of standing areas.

  • Who is most at Risk?
      All residents of areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of getting West Nile encephalitis; persons over 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease. It is unknown if immunocompromised persons are at increased risk for WNV disease.

  • Where can I purchase Bti?
      Bti can be purchased in many lawn and garden, outdoor supply, and home improvement stores. And Bti is not harmful to people, pets, aquatic life, or plants.

  • What is West Nile Encephalitis?
      West Nile fever is a case of mild disease in people, characterized by flu-like symptoms. West Nile fever typically lasts only a few days and does not appear to cause any long-term health effects.

      More severe disease due to a person being infected with this virus can be “West Nile encephalitis,” West Nile meningitis or West Nile meningoencephalitis. Encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brain, meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord, and meningoencephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain and the membrane surrounding it.

  • What about dead birds?
      Dead birds can be an indication that West Nile virus is present in an area. Please call the Greene County Conservation District's WNV Coordinator to report dead birds.


Report a dead bird:

Crows, blue jays and raptors are the most susceptible to WNV and can indicate the presence of WNV in the region. When an infected bird is found and reported, trapping efforts can be concentrated in that area. If you encounter a dead bird, please contact either our office, the Greene County Conservation District at 724-852-5278 or Pennsylvania Department of Health using either of the following options:
  1. Phone: 1-877-PA-HEALTH or locally call 724-627-3168 or 724-852-5278
  2. On the Web: PA West Nile Virus Surveillance Program


Greene County Conservation District

Ben Franklin Building (Suite 204), 22 West High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370 — 724-852-5278 / Fax: 724-852-5341

County of Greene, Pennsylvania

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