In 2000, the West Nile virus appeared in Pennsylvania for the first time. Pursuant to 3 PA.SA. 2321 (d), the
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued a temporary order proclaiming West Nile virus to be a dangerous transmissible disease. Since the issuance of that order in 2000, the Department of Agriculture has
annually renewed that order. The Department of Agriculture determined that West Nile virus is a disease of public health significance. It also poses a threat to domestic animal health and to the economic wellbeing of
domestic animal industries, particularly the equine industry.
In response to Agriculture’s declaration, the Department was authorized to administer mosquito surveillance and control activities to combat West Nile virus throughout the Commonwealth. The program was designed to
provide grants to all sixty-seven counties in Pennsylvania in an effort to reduce West Nile virus transmission in said counties and appropriated funds for new positions in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that were responsible to administer and provide technical support to the counties. The Department initiated an IPM plan that included three components; educating the public about mosquitoes, surveillance of
mosquitoes throughout Pennsylvania and if a perceived risk was identified, control of mosquitoes through larviciding/pupaciding/adulticiding.
The County Code provides the various county commissioners with the authority to implement the surveillance
program. County commissioners, pursuant to 16 P.S. 2150(b), have “the power to eliminate all breeding places of mosquitoes, on private or public property, within the county and to do and perform all acts, including entry
upon private or public property, and to carry out all plans which, in their opinion and judgment,may be necessary or proper for the elimination of breeding places of mosquitoes, or which will tend to exterminate
mosquitoes with the county.” This provides the framework for our program in Pennsylvania and the role that each county plays in the implementation of that program. If County West Nile Virus Coordinators have cause to examine private property for the presence of standing water, they will have the right to enter, examine and survey all grounds, vehicles, buildings, within their county jurisdiction. This is authorized by House Bill No. 495, session of 1997. In the event the property owner directly refuses entry onto private property, County West Nile Virus staff shall immediately vacate the property and contact the Department. This transference of authority is described in Section 1917-A of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175),known as The Administrative Code of 1929, added December 3, 1970 (P.L. 834, No. 275).