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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 058-07
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA:
(212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (After Hours)
Andrew Tucker (atucker@health.nyc.gov)
Sara Markt (smarkt@health.nyc.gov)


HEALTH DEPARTMENT URGES NEW YORKERS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES DURING WEST NILE VIRUS SEASON

Wearing Repellent Can Prevent Infection

NEW YORK CITY – July 18, 2007 – A steamy summer is in full swing in New York City, and with it comes mosquitoes. The Health Department today reminded New Yorkers to mosquito-proof their homes and wear mosquito repellent when spending time outdoors. New Yorkers can also help prevent the spread of West Nile virus by eliminating standing water, where mosquitoes breed, from their property. While there have been no indications of West Nile virus in humans, animals or mosquitoes yet this season, now is the time to start taking precautions.

The Health Department monitors for West Nile Virus and applies pesticides as needed throughout the summer. The Department has begun routine preventive mosquito control (larviciding) in parts of Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx, using a naturally-occurring and environmentally-friendly product to prevent immature mosquitoes from growing into adults. The City’s 2007 Comprehensive Mosquito Surveillance and Control Plan can be found online at http://home2.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/wnv/wnvplan2007.pdf.

“West Nile virus likely to appear soon, so take precautions to protect yourself and your family,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. “Anyone who is outdoors in areas with mosquitoes should wear an appropriate insect repellent, and property owners should eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to serious illness and should take care to avoid mosquitoes.” Residents can report dead birds, which may be signs of West Nile virus, and standing water by calling 311 or logging onto nyc.gov/health.

Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes
• Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to reduce exposure to mosquitoes. (Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should NOT be used on children younger than three.) Use products according to manufacturer’s instructions.
• Make sure windows have screens, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
• Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property, and dispose of containers that can collect water. Standing water is a violation of the 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.
• Do not leave vases in cemeteries as they are prohibited during West Nile virus season.

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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