West Nile virus is present in Carbon County.

According to a report by the Pennsylvania West Nile Control Program, released Monday, the first mosquito sample that has tested positive for West Nile virus in the county this year was found in Palmerton.

The sample was the 17th mosquito collected and eighth tested in the county.

This is the 926th reported positive result in the state this year.

A total of 40 out of the 67 counties have discovered the virus in mosquitoes; while 15 counties have had dead bird positive results.

No human West Nile virus cases in the state have been reported so far this year.

West Nile virus is a disease that infects birds, which are then bitten by mosquitoes and transmitted to humans and other mammals through infected mosquito bites. It was first detected in the United States in 1999, when 62 people in New York became ill and seven died; and has since spread into other states.

Since 2000, when a West Nile virus program was implemented in the state, Carbon County has had a total of 11 positive West Nile virus results in mosquitoes; with only one confirmed human case in 2003.

In 2009, the West Nile virus surveillance program was abolished in Carbon by the county commissioners because of the low number of positive results.

Pennsylvanians can reduce the risk of West Nile virus by eliminating the places where mosquitoes breed.

They include:

Ÿ Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires, or any object on your property that could collect standing water.

Ÿ Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.

Ÿ Have roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from nearby trees have a tendency to clog the drains.

Ÿ Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

Ÿ Don't let water stagnate in birdbaths.

Ÿ Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.

Ÿ Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and remove standing water from pool covers.

Ÿ Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

Ÿ Standing water that cannot be eliminated should be treated with BTI products, which are sold at outdoor supply, home improvement, and other stores. BTI is a naturally occurring bacterium that kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

Additionally, residents can prevent mosquito bites, with these simple tips:

Ÿ Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.

Ÿ Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.

Ÿ When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods.

Ÿ Use insect repellants according to the manufacturer's instructions. An effective repellant will contain DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellant on children, as repellant is not recommended for children under the age of 2 months.

For more information about West Nile Virus, including current test results for mosquitoes, birds and horses, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us [1] or call the Department of Health at 1-877-PA HEALTH.