July 16, 2009 — For the first time this season, the Health Department has detected West Nile virus (WNV) in New York City mosquitoes. The infectious mosquitoes were collected from Ferry Point Park in the Bronx. So far, no human cases have been detected this season. The Health Department has increased mosquito surveillance and mosquito larvae control efforts in the affected area.
"West Nile Virus has returned to New York City, but simple precautions can help protect you and your family from the infection," said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. "Wear mosquito repellent when you are outdoors, and cover your arms and legs if you're outside at dawn or dusk. New Yorkers over 50 years old need to be especially careful because they are most likely to suffer serious illness or death if they contract the virus."
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. 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, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under 3), or products
that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
- Make sure windows have screens, and repair or replace
screens that have tears or holes to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Eliminate any standing water from your property as
they are breeding sites for mosquitoes, and dispose of containers that can
collect water. Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code
and can be reported by calling 311.
- Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas
and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered when not in use, and drain water
that collects in pool covers.
- Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.
For more information about West Nile Virus, visit www.nyc.gov/health or call 311.