July 8, 2013 – 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 Pomonok neighborhood in Queens and the Huguenot Beach neighborhood on Staten Island. No human cases have been detected this season. The Health Department has increased mosquito surveillance by setting up additional traps and treating catch basins in the affected areas. The Health Department will continue its efforts to kill mosquito larvae before they can bite by applying larvicide in the city’s catch basins, marshland, and areas with standing water.
“Now that West Nile virus has returned to New York City, it is important to take simple precautions to protect you and your family,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “Be sure to wear mosquito repellent when outdoors, and cover your arms and legs if you’re outside at dawn or dusk. New Yorkers 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 serious complications, including neurological diseases, 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 a breeding site 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.
For more information about West Nile virus, call 311 or visit nyc.gov.