FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 044-10 Wednesday, September 1, 2010
MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Susan Craig/Zoe Tobin: PressOffice@health.nyc.gov
Health Department Alerts New Yorkers – Especially Those 50 and Older – to Take Extra Precautions against West Nile Virus
Mosquito-borne infection is at unusually high levels in all five boroughs
September 1, 2010 – The Health Department today reported the
13th human case of West Nile viral disease in New York City this summer. Because
an unusually high number of mosquito pools are testing positive for West Nile
Virus throughout the five boroughs, the agency is advising all New Yorkers -
especially those 50 and older - to take precautions to avoid bites. West Nile
Virus was first introduced in New York City in 1999, and human cases have
occurred every year since then. This year, the Health Department has recorded
more human cases at this point in the season than it has in any other year since
2000. More cases are expected through October.
New Yorkers can take simple steps to minimize contact with mosquitoes and
prevent infection with West Nile Virus:
Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon
eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active
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
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
To date, 211 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with West Nile viral disease
since it was first found in the United States in 1999, including 3 in 2009 and
15 in 2008.
The Health Department uses an “integrated pest management” approach to
monitor the city for West Nile Virus and control its spread by mosquitoes. The
agency inspects and treats standing water sites with non-chemical larvicides to
kill larval mosquitoes before they emerge as flying adults. When necessary, the
agency also applies small amounts of chemical pesticides (adulticides) to kill
adult mosquitoes. A schedule of mosquito control activities is available online
at nyc.gov/health or by phone from the
311 call center.
About West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus infection most often causes a mild or moderate flu-like
illness, or sometimes no symptoms at all. But in some people, particularly those
50 and older, it can cause a serious and potentially fatal infection of the
brain and spinal cord. The most common symptoms are headache, fever, muscle
aches and extreme fatigue. Symptoms of more severe illness can also include
changes in mental status and muscle weakness. If you think you have symptoms of
West Nile Virus, see your doctor right away. For more information about West
Nile Virus, and how to avoid it, visit nyc.gov/health or call 311.