Spraying mosquitoes to combat West Nile Virus

Spraying is used to reduce the risk of mosquitoes (AP Photo)

They buzz around at night, sucking blood from the unsuspecting.

But Bucks officials are trying to combat mosquito growth in the county by starting a mosquito spraying program next week, which they hope will help limit the spread of West Nile Virus.

The spraying will take place in Penndel and Falls Township on Monday and Tuesday night, respectively, according to press releases from the county.

There have been no reported cases of West Nile Virus in humans in Bucks in 2013, county spokeswoman Julie Kelchner said Friday. A state website says that there have been no human cases yet this year anywhere in the state.

In an e-mail, the county’s West Nile program coordinator Phil Smith added that the number of mosquitoes and West Nile positive mosquitoes were down this year due to a cool spring.

Mosquito spraying is relatively common: in addition to Bucks, spraying has been used in Chester and Montgomery Counties in the past.

As for the virus, the symptoms for people who contract it range from non-existent to fatal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile Virus display no symptoms, though it can result in fevers that last for several days. In rare cases, the agency says, the virus can lead to death. 

According to agency statistics, out of about 5,600 reported cases nationwide last year, there were 286 deaths (that number was up sharply from previous years, when nationwide deaths were generally below 60).

In Pennsylvania last year, the agency says, there were four deaths out of a reported 60 cases. 

Details for next week's Bucks sprayings are below. A third spraying is likely to be scheduled next week, Smith said, but specifics are pending.

Penndel - Monday, July 22, between 7:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

The area to be sprayed is the Taddea Woods.

Falls Township - Tuesday, July 23, between 7:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.

The areas to be sprayed include the North Park section of Levittown (all streets between Northpark Drive and Falls Tullytown Road) as well as a portion of the Nottingham Village section of Fallsington, including Nottingham Drive, Nottingham Court, Jensen Drive, Nancia Drive, Taylor Drive, Robin Hood Drive, Sherwood Drive and Marion Road.