Local Researchers Look To Stop Spread Of West Nile To Humans

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — First you hear the buzz, then the smack. Mosquitoes aren’t just an annoyance, they can carry some pretty nasty viruses.

“We’re interested in understanding how this virus is able to infect the mosquito and how when it transmits to humans,” said Sarah Cherry, who is a professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cherry and her team int the area are studying ways to limit transmission of West Nile to humans.

“What we care about is the ability of the mosquito to transmit to humans,” she said.

The State Department of Environmental Protection says statewide, 611 mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile, so far this yea. And the testing season isn’t over until September.

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Last year, there were just 300 infected mosquitoes collected.

It was a mild winter. That probably has an effect.

Now in this rain, mosquitoes are not really a big issue. But experts say Tuesday could be a different story. All of the standing water left behind is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“Get rid of all standing water,” Cherry explained. “Even a small amount of standing water is sufficient for some of the mosquitoes to lay eggs and have larvae. So if you get rid of all the water, you get rid of all the mosquitoes.”

And honestly, who doesn’t want that?

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