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New York City Seal
Press Release
NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Office of Public Affairs
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Greg Butler
Monday, July 22, 2002
(212) 788-5290
(877) 640-1347


Ground-based Spraying to Take Place Overnight
Wednesday, July 24, 9:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M., Weather Permitting

Commissioner Frieden Reminds New Yorkers - Especially Those Over 60 Years of Age - to Take Personal Precautions Against Mosquitoes

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced today that in response to findings of increased numbers of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes in Staten Island and Brooklyn, targeted ground-based (truck) spraying of pesticides has been scheduled for overnight Wednesday, July 24. To date, no human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been identified in New York City. Targeted ground-based spraying by DOHMH is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24 between 9:00 P.M. and 2:00 A.M., weather permitting, in the following areas:

Staten Island (both residential and non-residential areas): the area bounded by Forrest Avenue to the north, Richmond Avenue to the east, Victory Boulevard to the South, and areas just west of the West Shore expressway. Spraying will take place in and around the Staten Island Corporate Park and Baron Hirsh Cemetery.

Brooklyn (non-residential area): Greenwood Cemetery.

In the event of rain or high winds, all operations will continue on the next possible evening, weather permitting.

DOHMH Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH said "Surveillance findings in areas of Staten Island and Brooklyn reveal increased West Nile virus activity, which represents an increased threat for transmission of WNV to humans. All New Yorkers, especially those over age 50 years, should take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The risk of serious disease due to West Nile virus is highest among people over 60 years of age."

Dr. Frieden also noted that New Yorkers should continue to eliminate standing water around the home and report dead birds to the City's WNV information line, 1-877-WNV-4NYC (1-877-968-4692).

For adult mosquito control this year, DOHMH will use Anvil (Sumithrin), a synthetic pyrethroid utilized in mosquito control efforts in New York City since 1999. A Final Environmental Impact Statement completed in the summer of 2001 found that there is no significant risk of adverse impact to human health associated with the proper use of pyrethroids. The use of pesticides in New York City is conducted in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) guidelines.

There have been a total of 17 mosquito pools in New York City that have tested positive for WNV in 2002: 14 in Staten Island, two in Brooklyn, and one in the Bronx. One bird, a grackle from Staten Island, has tested positive for WNV.

DOHMH offered some tips for individuals who live near the areas to be treated, and wish to minimize any potential exposure to pesticides:

  • Some individuals are sensitive to pesticides. Persons with asthma or other respiratory conditions are especially encouraged to stay inside during spraying since there is a possibility that spraying could worsen those conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on. But if you wish to reduce the possibility of exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the recirculate function.
  • If you wish to minimize your exposure to pesticides, you may want to bring children's toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from outdoor areas inside during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, they may be washed with soap and water to reduce the possibility of exposure.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water.
  • Anyone experiencing adverse reactions to pesticides should seek medical care or call the NYC Poison Control Center at (212) POISONS [(212) 764-7667].

Recommendations to Prevent WNV Dr. Frieden advised New Yorkers, especially those 50 and over, to take personal precautions against mosquitoes:

  • If outside between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks.
  • Consider the use of an insect repellent containing DEET. USE DEET ACCORDING TO MANUFACTURER'S DIRECTIONS. As with chemical exposures in general, pregnant women should take care to avoid exposure to DEET whenever practical.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

New Yorkers are also encouraged to help "Mosquito-Proof New York City" by eliminating areas of standing water around their homes:

  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly.
  • Dispose of cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers.
  • Remove all discarded tires from property.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. If not in use, keep pools empty and covered.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Change water in birdbaths every 3 to 4 days.
  • Eliminate any other areas of standing water that collects on your property;
  • Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites on their properties.

For more information on WNV, visit or call the City's toll free West Nile Virus Information Line at 1-877-WNV-4NYC (1-877-968-4692).