PITTSBURGH - Allegheny County Health Department officials are urging residents to take precautions after an aggressive form of mosquito was found in the area.
Officials said the Asian Tiger mosquito has been found in Lawrenceville. This type of mosquito is present mostly from dawn to dusk and can amplify the spread of West Nile virus.
"Complaints about the Asian Tiger have been limited to Lawrenceville. However, it could turn up elsewhere in the region because the Tiger has been found in two other municipalities in previous seasons. Residents should keep their gutters clean and remove all water-holding containers on their property. You do not want this mosquito breeding in your neighborhood," said Acting Health Director Dr. Ron Voorhees.
After posting this story to wpxi.com, many Channel 11 News viewers reported seeing the mosquito in their neighborhood.
"I got bit four times today by two different Asian Tiget mosquitoes in the Kennywood area," said WPXI-TV Facebook fan Christy Drummer.
Lawrenceville resident Jill Smith told Channel 11 News that her son has been bitten by the mosquitoes several times in the past few days.
“Sunday morning, in his sandbox, he had a mosquito straight on his forehead. It’s terrible,” Smith said. “He came inside with all of those big welts on him and I was like, ‘What is this?’”
The mosquito is known as the Asian Tiger because of its Southeast Asia origin and characteristic black-and-white striped legs and body.
"If these things get loose and spread like they have in other communities and the east coast, people won’t be able to go out in their yards anymore,” Allegheny County entomologist Bill Todaro said.
The public can take these measures and eliminate stagnant water from their yards and neighborhoods:
- Get rid of items that hold water -- tires, buckets, flowerpots, junk piles and cans.
- Clean out roof gutters and storm drains.
- Change the water in birdbaths once or twice a week.
- Empty and turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Drain water from plastic coverings on swimming pools and outdoor furniture.
- Properly filter/chlorinate backyard swimming pools; dismantle those not in use.
- Fill in depressions on your lawn to prevent accumulation of water.
- Repair leaky outdoor faucets that can create a pool of stagnant water
People can also protect themselves from mosquito bites by closing openings to their house, using window screens, applying insect repellent on exposed skin, wearing long-sleeve tops and pants, and minimizing time spent outdoors during daylight hours, especially at dawn and dusk when most mosquitoes are more likely to bite.