NEW YORK CITY – July 27, 2007 – For the first time this season, the Health Department has detected West Nile virus in New York City mosquitoes. No human cases have been reported in NYC this year, but people have been stricken in 19 states. The Health Department reported today that a pool of mosquitoes collected in the Flushing section of Queens has tested positive for the virus. The Health Department has increased mosquito surveillance and mosquito larvae control efforts in the affected area.
“West Nile virus has arrived in New York City, so protect yourself and your family,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. “Wear insect repellent when you go outside and get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed. Older people are especially vulnerable and should make an effort to avoid mosquitoes.”
West Nile virus can cause encephalitis, a serious inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, and can also cause a more moderate flu-like illness with headache, fever and extreme fatigue. For more information about West Nile virus, and how to avoid it, visit the Health Department website at www.nyc.gov/health or call 311. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, see your doctor right away.
Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes
• Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. (Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should NOT be used on children younger than three.) Use these products according to manufacturers’ instructions.
• 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 dead birds or standing water by calling 311 or visiting http://www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.
The Health Department monitors for West Nile Virus and applies pesticides as needed throughout the summer. 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.