The virus has now shown up in four western Pennsylvania counties.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARON, Pa. -- Mercer County has joined the growing list of Pennsylvania counties where the West Nile virus has been found.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that a dead American crow found in Hempfield Township tested positive for the virus Tuesday.
It was the first positive test in the county, which has had 10 birds tested, the report said.
Mosquitoes transmit the virus, which generally causes flulike symptoms, but no positive mosquito tests have been found in Mercer County, according to the state.
The Department of Health reports that the virus, which can be lethal to the elderly, young children and those with deficient immune systems, has been found in 22 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties so far.
Most of those counties are in the southeastern and central portions of the state, but four are in western Pennsylvania: Mercer, Lawrence, Westmoreland and Washington counties.
In Lawrence County, four birds had it: one each in Union and Neshannock townships, New Wilmington and New Castle.
James Mondok, manager of the Mercer County Conservation District, which is coordinating virus tests in the county, said his office wasn't notified of the dead bird in Hempfield Township until he was contacted Wednesday afternoon by the state Department of Health with the information that the crow had tested positive for the virus.
Mondok said whoever found the bird apparently contacted the Department of Health hot line directly and state employees picked up the crow.
He said he believes it was found just east of Greenville.
The finding isn't cause for alarm but people should take the usual precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites, Mondok said.