Authorities in Mercer County want people to take precautions against mosquito bites after a mosquito-borne virus that can cause brain infection was discovered in nearby Crawford County.

A media release from the Mercer County Conservation District’s Vector Management Program announced that Jamestown Canyon Virus was detected in mosquito populations in Woodcock Township.

Pennsylvania’s Vector Management program is tasked with keeping track of mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects that can transmit diseases to humans and animals.

This is the first sample to test positive for the virus in Crawford County this year. No human cases have yet been reported.

Authorities say additional monitoring will be done in the area where these mosquito samples were collected and control work will be conducted, depending on the number and types of mosquitoes that are found.

Most people don’t develop symptoms while some will have fever, headache, and fatigue. Respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, or runny nose may also occur.

Jamestown Canyon virus can cause severe disease, including infection of the brain (encephalitis) or the membranes around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).

If you think you or a family member might be infected, talk with your healthcare provider.

The risk of infection can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes that can spread the Jamestown Canyon virus are attracted to floodwater and low-lying areas that retain water after storms.

 The detection of JCV in Crawford County does not indicate an immediate or widespread threat to the public but Vector Management officials say is a result of additional testing capacities as a part of the statewide Mosquito Disease Control program.

Businesses and residents located in Woodcock Township should take extra precautions such as applying insect repellant and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors during dusk and dawn.

All businesses and residents should reduce mosquito breeding habitat by eliminating standing water, such as bird baths, discarded tires, or any other containers capable of retaining standing water.

Prevent mosquito bites with the following tips:

  • Insect repellants with DEET can be applied as directed to exposed skin and clothing.
  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and early evening when mosquitoes are most active. If you must go outdoors, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Make sure window and door screens are bug-tight.
  • Mosquitoes are repelled by high winds, so electric fans may provide some relief at outdoor events.

Reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes and neighborhoods by:

  • Getting rid of standing water, where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
  • Dispose of any refuse that can hold water—such as tin cans, containers, and used tires.
  • Control products such as mosquito dunks can be obtained from garden centers.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers and check uncovered junk piles.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters every year. Check storm drains, leaky faucets, and window wells.
  • Empty accumulated water from wheelbarrows, boats, cargo trailers, toys, and ceramic pots. If possible, turn them over when not using them.
  • Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths, ornamental pools, water gardens, and swimming areas.