West Nile Virus Fears Sweep NYC

The Health Departments has detected high levels of the dangerous West Nile Virus in every borough except Manhattan.

The number of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus is unusually high at this point in the season though there have been no human cases as of yet.

The agency issued an alert on Friday to medical providers throughout the city, asking them to be on the look out for possible cases of West Nile virus and to report them. Next week, the Health Department will conduct adult mosquito control spraying in affected residential and non-residential areas of Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx to reduce mosquito populations

“Warm standing water is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, so with the three heat waves that we’ve already had this summer, it is vitally important to make sure standing water is reduced to help prevent mosquito breeding,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “This summer it is especially important to take simple personal steps to reduce exposure to mosquitoes, especially for persons 50 years or older. The best way to reduce risk is to wear repellent outdoors in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active.”

Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
  • Make sure windows have screens, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • Eliminate any standing water from your property, and dispose of containers that can collect water. Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code.
  • Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
  • Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting NYC.gov
  • If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, see your doctor right away. The most common symptoms are headache, fever and extreme fatigue.

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