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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 077-07
Friday, September 7, 2007

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA: (212) 788-5290
Celina De Leon (cdeleon@health.nyc.gov)
Sara Markt (smarkt@health.nyc.gov)


BROOKLYN WOMAN TESTS POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS

Health Department Urges New Yorkers, Especially Those 50 or Older, To Take Precautions against Mosquito Bite

NEW YORK CITY – September 7, 2007 – The Health Department today confirmed the season’s first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in a 41-year-old Brooklyn woman. So far this season, the Health Department has identified WNV in 139 mosquito pools citywide – eastern Queens, southeastern Bronx and Staten Island have had significant activity. WNV has been detected in all five boroughs. The agency is continuing mosquito surveillance, responding to standing water complaints, and conducting larviciding and spraying as needed. Information on upcoming sprayings is available online at www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/wnvspray.shtml.

The patient began feeling ill in mid-August. Her symptoms included fever, headache, fatigue, weakness and muscle pain. She was hospitalized on August 25th, and is now home recovering.  Because she traveled outside of New York City during the two weeks preceding her illness, she may have been exposed to WNV either in New York City, or elsewhere.

“I urge all New Yorkers – especially those over 50 – to take steps to prevent mosquito bites,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. “Wear mosquito repellent and long pants and sleeves if you’re outside in the evening, and be sure your window screens are intact. These simple steps can help stop the spread of West Nile virus.”

How to Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Use an approved mosquito repellent in areas where mosquitoes are active. Repellents containing the active ingredients DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are approved for use by New York State and the U.S. EPA and for protection against biting mosquitoes. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than three. Always read the repellent’s label and follow instructions.
  • Make sure that 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 www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.

The Health Department’s website has up-to-date information and maps on mosquito activity.

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