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New York City Seal
Press Release
NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Office of Communications
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Greg Butler
Tuesday, September 3, 2002
(212) 788-5290
(877) 640-1347


Spraying Scheduled for Overnight Tomorrow, Wednesday Sept. 4, in Northern Queens and
Overnight Thursday, Sept. 5 in Southwestern Brooklyn, Weather Permitting

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced today that an 85-year-old woman from Richmond Hill, Queens and a 27-year-old woman from the East Tremont section of the Bronx have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The 85-year-old Queens woman was hospitalized on August 25 with fever, stiff neck, seizures, and altered mental status. She was diagnosed with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and remains hospitalized. The 27-year-old Bronx woman was hospitalized on August 28 with headache, neck pain, photophobia, nausea, and vomiting. She was diagnosis with aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), and is currently hospitalized in stable condition. There have now been 6 cases of WNV in New York City, including one fatality announced yesterday. No known cases of WNV in New York City have been acquired through blood transfusions or organ transplants.

DOHMH Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, said, "In the City's four years experience with West Nile virus (WNV), the last week of August has tended to be the time when most new infections occur. However, with warmer temperatures expected, we are not out of the woods yet. All New Yorkers - especially those over the age of 50 - should continue to take precautions against mosquitoes, including wearing long sleeves, ensuring screens around the home are tight fitting and not torn, and consider the use of insect repellent when outdoors."

Additionally, Dr. Frieden encouraged New Yorkers to continue reporting dead birds to the City's WNV information line - 1-877-WNV-4NYC - and eliminate standing water around the home.

DOHMH also announced targeted, ground-based spraying scheduled for overnight tomorrow, Wednesday, September 4, 8:30 P.M. to 2:00 A.M. in residential and non-residential areas of northern Queens, and overnight Thursday, September 5, 8:30 P.M. to 2:00 A.M. in residential and non-residential areas of southwestern Brooklyn. Mosquito surveillance has shown the presence of WNV in human biting mosquitoes in northern Queens, and sustained WNV activity over the past few weeks in southwestern Brooklyn.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus
West Nile virus can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Most people who become infected with WNV do not experience symptoms or become ill. In some individuals, particularly the elderly, West Nile encephalitis can be a serious disease and is potentially fatal. Symptoms generally occur 3 to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. Less than 1% of mosquitoes carry West Nile virus and most bites from infected mosquitoes probably do not result in infection. Approximately one in five exposed persons develop a flu-like illness and fewer than 1 in a hundred people become seriously ill. Therefore, people bitten by mosquitoes do not need to be tested for WNV but any individual who develops symptoms such as high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches, or stiff neck should see a doctor immediately.

Spray Schedule for Northern Queens and Southwestern Brooklyn
Weather permitting, spraying will take place overnight tomorrow, Wednesday, September 4 between 8:30 P.M. and 2:00 A.M. in the College Point, Whitestone, Beechurst, Linden Hill, and Murray Hill neighborhoods of Queens in the area bounded by Northern Boulevard and Crocheron Avenue to the south, and the Clearview Expressway to the east. Flushing Cemetery and Kissena Park and Golf Course are also scheduled for spraying. (see Queens map)

Overnight Thursday, September 5 between 8:30 P.M. and 2:00 A.M., spraying is scheduled in the Sheepshead Bay, Homecrest, and Gravesend neighborhoods of Brooklyn, weather permitting. Spraying is scheduled to take place in the area bounded by Kings Highway to the north, Ocean Avenue to the east, the Belt Parkway to the south, and Stillwell Avenue to the west. Greenwood Cemetery is also scheduled to be sprayed overnight Thursday, September 5. (see Brooklyn map)

In the event of rain or high winds tomorrow evening, spraying in northern Queens will take place in the early morning hours - between 4:00 and 6:00 A.M. - Thursday, September 5. Should weather not permit spraying, northern Queens will be scheduled for overnight spraying on September 5, between 8:30 P.M. and 2:00 A.M., while southwestern Brooklyn will be scheduled for overnight Friday, September 6, between the hours of 8:30 P.M. and 2:00 A.M.

For up-to-date spray schedules, New Yorkers can call 1-877-WNV-4NYC or listen to WCBS radio (880AM) at 6:19 A.M. and 6:19 P.M. Spray schedules are announced on the day prior to and the day of spraying activities.

DOHMH is using Anvil (Sumithrin), a synthetic pyrethroid used in mosquito control efforts in New York City since 1999. Exposure to Anvil may result in eye, nose and/or respiratory irritation, but symptoms are generally short-term. Nonetheless, DOHMH offered 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 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.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables that may have been exposed to any pesticide.

Anyone experiencing adverse reactions to pesticides should seek medical care or call the NYC Poison Control Center at (212) POISONS [(212) 764-7667].

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