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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 034-10
Friday, July 16, 2010

MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Susan Craig/Celina De Leon: PressOffice@health.nyc.gov


Health Department Reports High Level of West Nile Virus Activity in the City

Health Department will spray parts of Queens and Staten Island on July 20 and the Bronx on July 22 to help prevent West Nile virus infections; New Yorkers, especially those 50 or older, should take precautions against mosquito bites

July 16, 2010 The Health Department has detected West Nile Virus in several areas of New York City this week. The number of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus is unusually high at this point in the season. So far this year, through regular sampling of mosquitoes collected from the five boroughs, mosquitoes with the virus have been found in Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. No human cases have been detected. The agency issued an alert today to medical providers throughout the city, asking them to be on the look out for possible cases of West Nile virus and to report them. Next week, the Health Department will conduct adult mosquito control spraying in affected residential and non-residential areas of Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx to reduce mosquito populations (details below). Surveillance and control efforts will continue throughout the summer.

“Warm standing water is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, so with the three heat waves that we’ve already had this summer, it is vitally important to make sure standing water is reduced to help prevent mosquito breeding,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “This summer it is especially important to take simple personal steps to reduce exposure to mosquitoes, especially for persons 50 years or older. The best way to reduce risk is to wear repellent outdoors in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active.”

The Health Department monitors the city for West Nile virus and uses an “integrated pest management” approach to control the spread of the virus by mosquitoes. The agency inspects and treats standing water sites with non-chemical larvicides to kill larval mosquitoes before they emerge as flying adults and can bite humans. The agency, when and where it is necessary, also applies small amounts of chemical pesticides (adulticides) to kill adult mosquitoes. On Tuesday, July 20 the Department will apply adulticides in the affected areas of Queens and Staten Island and on Thursday, July 22 to areas of the Bronx. A schedule of mosquito control activities is available at nyc.gov/health or by calling 311.

Some people experience only mild flu-like symptoms after contracting West Nile virus, but the infection can cause meningitis or encephalitis, which can result in a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.

Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes
  • Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
  • 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 standing water by calling 311 or visiting http://www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.

If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, see your doctor right away. The most common symptoms are 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.

Mosquito Control Notice:

Health Department Will Spray Parts of Queens and Staten Island on Tuesday, July 20 and Parts of the Bronx on Thursday, July 22 for Mosquitoes to Help Prevent West Nile Virus

To reduce mosquito activity and the risk of West Nile virus, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks in the following parts of Queens and Staten Island on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, between the hours of 8:30 P.M. and 6:00 A.M the following morning, weather permitting, and the Bronx on Thursday, July 22, 2010 between the hours of 8:30 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. the following morning, weather permitting. In case of bad weather, spraying will be delayed until the night of July 21 in Queen and Staten Island, and the night of July 26 for the Bronx, during the same hours. While the virus has been detected in mosquitoes in New York City, no human cases of West Nile virus have been identified this season. Information on West Nile virus surveillance is available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/wnvrrs.shtml.

Locations of Application on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, between the hours of 8:30 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. the following morning
Borough Neighborhood Boundaries Zip Code
Queens Parts of South Jamaica, Rochdale Village, and Springfield Gardens Bordered by Merrick Boulevard and Farmers Boulevard to the East; Linden Boulevard to the North; 140th Street to the West and North Conduit Ave to the South 11434,11436
Staten Island Parts of Old Town, Dongan Hills, South Beach  and Grasmere Bordered by Gapodanno Boulevard to the East; West Fingerboard Road and Sand Lane to the North; Richmond Road to the West and Stobe Avenue, Hylan Boulevard and Slater Boulevard to the South 10304, 10305, 10306

Locations of Application on Thursday, July 22, 2010, between the hours of 8:30 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. the following morning
Borough Neighborhood Boundaries Zip Code
Bronx Parts of Spencer Estates, Pelham Bay, Pelham Bay Park North, Pelham Bay Park South and Co-op City Bordered by Eastchester Bay and Long Island Sound to the East; New England Thruway to the North; Hutchinson River Parkway to the West; and East Tremont Avenue, Otis Avenue and Layton Avenue to the South 10461, 10464, 10465, 10475


For this spraying, the Health Department will use a very low rate of Anvil®, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health, but the Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. Persons with asthma or other respiratory conditions especially are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on. But if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  • Remove children's toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

The use of pesticides in New York City is conducted in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) guidelines. A complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/feis.shtml.

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