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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 047-06
Thursday, June 15, 2006

CONTACT: (212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (After Hours)
Andrew Tucker (atucker@health.nyc.gov)
Joyce Hernández López (jlopez@health.nyc.gov)


AS WEST NILE VIRUS SEASON APPROACHES, NEW YORKERS SHOULD REPORT DEAD BIRDS AND ELIMINATE STANDING WATER

NEW YORK CITY – June 15, 2006 – With warmer weather already here and peak West Nile virus (WNV) season approaching, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) today reminded New Yorkers that they can help prevent the spread of WNV by reporting dead birds and eliminating standing water from their property. DOHMH also reminded New Yorkers to start mosquito-proofing their homes to reduce exposure to mosquitoes that can carry WNV.

"West Nile virus remains an unpredictable disease, and we won't be able to tell how severe a problem it will be this year," said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. "By taking steps now, New Yorkers can help to reduce mosquito populations in the City. Eliminating standing water and reporting dead birds to 311 has proven effective in controlling WNV. We particularly ask residents to report dead crows and blue jays, which are important indicators of WNV. To do that, simply call 311 or log on to nyc.gov/health."

DOHMH also reminded New Yorkers to mosquito-proof their homes by replacing torn screens in doors and windows; cleaning out gutters; and by emptying and turning over containers that could carry water allowing mosquitoes to breed. Standing water is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes and, as such, may be a violation of the City's Health Code.

DOHMH has begun routine larviciding of the City's storm drains and will continue to do so throughout the summer months. If WNV activity poses a risk to human health, pesticides will be applied to targeted areas. The City's 2006 Comprehensive Mosquito Surveillance and Control Plan is online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/wnv/wnvplan2006.pdf.

Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Repair or replace all screens that have tears and holes.
  • Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
  • Dispose of containers that can collect standing water.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly and rooftops are free of standing water.
  • 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.
  • Vases are prohibited in cemeteries during West Nile virus season.
  • Use an approved mosquito repellant when outdoors in areas where mosquitoes are active.
  • Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective, but these products should NOT be used on children younger than three. Products containing the active ingredient picaridin, DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus are repellents currently approved for use in New York State.

To report dead birds or standing water, or for more information about West Nile virus, call 311 or visit http://www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.

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