2015-08-12 / Front Page

DOHMH To Spray Mosquitoes

The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed on August 16 the season’s first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in a Brooklyn man who was hospitalized with viral meningitis. The patient was over the age of 60 years and has been treated and discharged.

In addition, the Queens neighborhoods listed below are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations. The spraying will take place on Monday, August 17, between the hours of 8:30 pm and 6 am the following morning, weather permitting. In case of bad weather, application will be delayed until Tuesday, August 18, during the same hours.

“This first case of West Nile virus disease in New York City provides a vital reminder to protect ourselves against mosquito bites,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Wearing mosquito repellent when you are outdoors, and long sleeves and pants in the morning and evening will reduce your risk of infection. New Yorkers age 60 and older or persons with weakened immune systems should be especially careful as they are more likely to become seriously ill, and in rare instances die, if infected.”

Human cases of West Nile virus occur each year in New York City, typically from July through October. A total of 318 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with West Nile virus since it was first found in the United States in 1999.

The Health Department’s aggressive West Nile Virus program focuses on prevention first and then mosquito control. The agency uses a comprehensive approach to monitor the city for West Nile virus and help control its spread by mosquitoes. Exterminators are surveying and treating, if required, routine and other potential mosquito breeding sites all over the city. 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/wnv or by phone from the 311 call center.

To date, the Health Department has completed six rounds of pesticide spraying this season to reduce the number of mosquitoes and the risk of West Nile virus. A third aerial larviciding was conducted on August 5 and 6 in Queens and on Staten Island. The Health Department treats 62,160 catch basins in Queens, two to three times per year. The second round of catchbasin treatments (larviciding) was completed on July 30 and the third round of treatment started on August 4. The Health Department has conducted 90 WNV presentations across the five boroughs.

Locations of Application
• Parts of Blissville and Sunnyside: Parts of 11101, 11104
• Parts of Astoria, Ditmars, Steinway and Woodside: Parts of 11103, 11105, 11370, 11377
• Parts of Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood and Oakland Gardens: Parts of 11364, 11366, 11423, 11427
• Parts of Briarwood, Forest Hills, Forest Hills Gardens, Glendale, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven: Parts of 11374, 11375, 11379,11385, 11418, 11421, 11432.
For these sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health. The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:
• Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
• Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
• Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.
• Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

About West Nile Virus
West Nile virus infection can cause a mild or moderate flu-like illness, or sometimes no symptoms at all. In some people, particularly those 60 and older, West Nile virus 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/wnv or call 311.

Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes
• Consider reducing the amount of time spent outdoors during the hours between dusk and dawn in areas with heavy mosquito populations.
• Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three years of age).
• 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 Health Code.
• 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 covers.
• Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting http://www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.

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