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Norristown, PA (April 11, 2017) – The mosquito season is starting and the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) is recommending that residents take precautions to clear away mosquito breeding areas around their homes. Mosquito-borne diseases are spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. The most commonly known mosquito-borne disease in Montgomery County is West Nile Virus (WNV). WNV surfaced in the U.S. in 1999 and is usually transmitted back and forth between infected birds and mosquitoes. However, humans can become the unintended hosts of the disease when they are bitten by an infected mosquito.With the onset of warmer weather and the peak mosquito season approaching, MCHD is reminding residents that they can help prevent the spread of WNV and other reemerging mosquito-borne diseases, such as the Zika Virus, by eliminating standing water from their property. West Nile Virus remains an unpredictable disease, and it is difficult to tell how severe a problem it will be this year. By taking steps now, residents can help to reduce mosquito populations.MCHD also encourages residents to mosquito-proof their homes by replacing torn screens in doors and windows, cleaning out gutters, and emptying and turning over containers that could collect water allowing mosquitoes to breed. Standing water is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. Anything that can hold water for five days can breed thousands of mosquitoes. Eliminating standing water has proven effective in controlling WNV.It is important to note that there are many species of mosquitoes commonly found in Montgomery County. Many of these mosquito species have different behavior patterns and feeding habits. The mosquito species (Culex pipiens and Culex restuans) commonly responsible for the spread of WNV are most active from dusk to dawn but the mosquito species (Aedes albopictus) that is capable of transmitting the Zika Virus is a vigorous day-time biter. For this reason, MCHD is encouraging residents to practice personal protective measures whenever active mosquitoes are encountered. Please refer to the below “Tips to Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes” for recommended personal protection measures.MCHD will soon begin routine adult mosquito surveillance and larviciding of public properties throughout the summer months. If the WNV activity poses a risk to human health, adulticiding or spraying may be necessary in targeted areas. Residents who would like to be notified of when spraying will occur should sign up for ReadyMontco alerts at http://readymontco.org. ReadyMontco replaced the ReadyNotifyPA system in June 2015. There are no longer "health" alerts. Residents need to sign up for county alerts and municipal alerts for the jurisdiction in which they reside.Information about mosquito-borne diseases can be found on the Health Department website at: www.montcopa.org/mosquito. The mosquito-borne disease page will highlight specific diseases and link residents to our disease-specific pages on West Nile Virus and Zika Virus.Tips to Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes: