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 neighborhoods of Glen Oaks in Queens and New Dorp Beach in 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.
“West Nile virus has been detected in New York City, so we urge everyone to take simple precautions to protect you and your family,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “The most effective way to keep mosquito populations low is to remove standing water from items like buckets, gutters, planters, or any other receptacles that might be outdoors. New Yorkers are also encouraged to wear mosquito repellent and cover their arms and legs if they’re outside at dawn or dusk in areas with mosquitoes. New Yorkers over 50 or who have severely weakened immune systems 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 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.