Take Precautions Against West Nile Virus, Health Department Warns

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WPCNR HEALTH NEWS. From The Westchester County Department of Health. July 26, 2014:

The county Health Department advises residents to take precautions against mosquito
bites after New York City reported that its first batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

So far this season, no mosquitoes in Westchester have been identified as carriers of West Nile Virus, but this is the time of year when the health department expects to find them.

“Given our proximity to New York City, it is safe to assume that mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus will soon be identified here in Westchester County,¨ said Sherlita Amler, MD, commissioner of health. “Our recent rainy weather also makes conditions ripe for mosquitoes capable of carrying the virus to breed. I urge all residents to remove standing water from their property and to take personal protective measures against mosquito bites when spending time outdoors.¨

Last year, there were seven positive mosquito batches found in Westchester County and two human cases of West Nile virus reported. Westchester County¡¦s first positive mosquito batch last year was reported in early August. So far this year, no positive mosquito batches have been found and there have been no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Westchester County. 

The Health Department prepared for the summer mosquito season by applying larvicide briquettes to street catch basins that held standing water and by giving away free minnows to residents that have ponds on their property. The minnows reduce the mosquito population because they feed on mosquito larvae and pupae before they emerge into adult mosquitoes. Residents should continue to do their part by removing standing water around their homes where mosquitoes can breed and by taking personal protection measures against mosquito bites.

To help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds where you live: 

Survey your property for tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that should be discarded or turned over to prevent collecting water.

 Cover outdoor trash containers to keep rainwater from accumulating inside.

Turn over plastic wading pools, buckets and wheelbarrows when not in use.

 Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are left outdoors.

 Clean roof gutters and remove standing water from flat roofs.


Drain water in birdbaths, plant pots and drip trays twice a week.

Sweep driveways after it rains so that they are free of puddles.

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.

To reduce your risk of mosquito bites:

 Avoid being outdoors in places and during times where and when mosquitoes are active and feeding.

Use insect repellents with no more than 10% DEET on children, sparingly and with care. Repellents should be effective for about two hours and should only be applied once a day. Read and follow package directions and wash treated skin after mosquito exposure has ended.

Select the lowest concentration effective for the amount of time spent outdoors. A concentration of 24% has been shown to provide an average of five hours of protection.

 Products containing DEET are not recommended for infants under two months of age.

 Wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks when outdoors in areas and at times where and when mosquitoes are active.

Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

Residents who notice large areas of standing water on public property that could serve as potential mosquito breeding grounds should report this information to the Westchester County Department of Health by calling (914) 813-5000 or emailing the Health Department through its website, www.westchestergov.com/health.

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