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 Douglaston and College Point neighborhoods in Queens and Old Town from Staten Island. No human cases have been reported this season. The Health Department will increase 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. Mary Bassett. “During warm weather, mosquitoes can breed in any still water that stands for more than four days, so the most effective way to control mosquitoes is to eliminate standing water. New Yorkers are also encouraged to mosquito-proof their homes, wear mosquito repellent and cover their arms and legs if they’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.
In addition, the Health Department will apply larvicide by helicopter to marsh and other non-residential areas of Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens on Thursday, July 17, Friday, July 18 and Monday, July 21, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. weather permitting. In case of bad weather, application will be delayed untilFriday, July 18, Monday, July 21 and Tuesday, July 22 during the same hours. While three days are allotted for this activity, the application may be completed in less time.
The areas to be treated appear below. These are marshy, natural areas, which are common breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Due to their size and inaccessibility by ground vehicles, these areas will be treated with larvicide from a low-flying helicopter.
VectoBac™ CG, VectoMax™ CG/FG and/or VectoLex™ CG/FG – all containing naturally occurring bacteria – will be used for this application. These larvicides are used throughout the mosquito season to treat mosquito-breeding sites. These products are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes
- Use an approved insect repellent containing picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
- 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 or covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
- Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/health/wnv.