Delaware News

Sunbury to be sprayed in West Nile battle

Mosquitoes infected with virus found in nearby trap


The Delaware General Health District will spray for mosquitoes Monday, Aug. 5, in Sunbury and Galena after trapped insects tested positive for West Nile virus.

Residents who live on Golf Course Road and on Cheshire and South Galena roads east of Golf Course Road can expect to see fogging trucks at about 9 p.m. Aug. 5, spraying to fight against the virus that can lead to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Although it's possible to go a year without fogging, it's typical that a pesticide spray will be used to reduce the mosquito population in an area at least once each summer, said Adam Howard, program manager for the residential services unit of the health district.

Last year's first positive case was detected at the end of July.

"There are multiple factors that play into why the mosquitoes are heavier one year to the next," Howard said. "Sometimes it's because of a warmer winter or more rainfall."

There are 10 traps placed each year around the county, including two in the city of Delaware and one each in Orange Township, Powell, Genoa Township, Trenton, Shawnee Hills, Oxford, Sunbury and Ostrander.

The traps are emptied daily and every two weeks, the contents are sent to a lab in Pennsylvania for testing. If a test comes back positive, fogging will be scheduled for the entire area that falls within a one-mile radius of the trap.

Another reason the health district may spray an area is if a resident is hospitalized with symptoms caused by West Nile virus.

The district sprayed areas of Ostrander on Thursday, Aug. 1, following a report that a resident there was hospitalized with symptoms of encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that can be caused by West Nile.

The district is waiting on lab tests that could confirm a diagnosis, Howard said.

While people contract West Nile and its related diseases from mosquitoes, the insects are infected by feeding on sick birds.

Howard offered advice on how to avoid West Nile:

"Avoid the dawn and dusk hours, but if you have to go out, wear long-sleeved, light-colored clothing and use repellents containing DEET or keratin," he said. "Empty any kind of containers that can hold water, such as children's toys, bird baths and any other sort of container that might be outside, because that's where mosquitoes multiply."

During fogging, Howard recommended pets and people stay indoors for the night.

The health district respects the wishes of those who prefer not to have their property sprayed for any reason. To be removed from the fogging list, call 740-368-1700.

Lab results from the next round of traps are expected to be released Thursday, Aug. 8.