HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Houtzdale, said that Clearfield County is receiving $68,175 to combat the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus.
“Pennsylvania recorded 14 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania last year, including one fatality,” George said. “While the virus wasn’t detected in Clearfield County last year, 17 county residents have contracted the virus since 2002, and the virus was found last year in three adjacent counties — Centre, Cambria and Lycoming.”
The funding from the state Department of Environmental Protection will be used to monitor mosquitoes and the virus and to alert residents about the potential dangers from the virus.
George said the state Senate today approved a proposed budget, Senate Bill 850, which would slash funding for the virus-monitoring program, black fly control and flood control projects by 25 percent.
“Clearfield County was fortunate to avoid the virus in 2008 but it may be unwise to depend on luck,” George said. “The Senate plan would cut the West Nile Virus program significantly and potentially put citizens at risk.”
People with mild infections from West Nile Virus may experience fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe infections can lead to West Nile encephalitis, and people over 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.
More information about the West Nile Virus is available online.