State says too early to tell if West Nile threat is higher because of warm winter

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Feb 28, 2017 6:26 PM

(Harrisburg) -- At times, this winter has felt more like spring.

Warmer conditions raise concerns that more mosquitoes will raise the risk of West Nile, but state officials say it's far too early to tell...

Temperatures that sometimes have reached into the 60s or 70s have made winter great for those who prefer a sweatshirt to a full coat.

Some may also think that warmer temperatures could also boost mosquito numbers.

State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Neil Shader says it's far too early to tell.

"There's just so many factors that play into it because a warm winter could mean they come out early, but at the same time, you could have a really dry summer so you'd cut down on standing water. There's just so many factors that can play into how a mosquito season goes to be able to say with any certainty at this point," says Shader.

Shader says the state will have a better idea when it starts mosquito monitoring in May as part of the West Nile prevention program.

"It's really too early to tell. I think the best advice for people concerned about mosquitoes is the same advice that we always have, which is eliminate areas for them to breed in and around your homes," he says.

He says a late cold snap could also help keep mosquito numbers down.

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