July 7, 2011 – For the first time this season, the Health Department has detected West Nile virus in New York City mosquitoes. The infected mosquitoes were collected from the neighborhood of Eltingville in Staten Island. 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,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Be sure to wear mosquito repellent when you’re outdoors, and cover your arms and legs if you’re outside at dawn or dusk. People over 50 should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus.”
Not everyone infected with West Nile virus will become ill. However, West Nile Virus can cause neurological diseases such as encephalitis, a serious inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness with headache, fever and fatigue, weakness and sometimes rash. 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 to keep mosquitoes out of your home, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
- Eliminate any standing water from your property since it provides are breeding sites for mosquitoes, and dispose of containers that can collect water.
- Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
- 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.
- Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code. You can report standing water by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/health/wnv.
For more information about West Nile Virus, visit nyc.gov/health/wnv or call 311.