WHITE PLAINS, NY –The Westchester County Department of Health is reminding residents to dump out standing water on their property after it rains, and to use insect repellents when outdoors in the early morning and late afternoon to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that could carry West Nile Virus.
This week, New York City has reported the first case of West Nile, involving a man living in Brooklyn. Westchester has yet to report a human case of the virus, but the county has tested more than 150 mosquito batches and has learned that four of those batches were carriers of the disease. These batches were collected by County Health Department staff in Greenburgh, Yonkers, Rye and Mount Vernon and were sent to New York State Department of Health for testing.
Last year, six positive mosquito batches were found in Westchester County and two human cases of West Nile Virus were reported.
“While finding mosquitoes with the virus in Westchester is to be expected, their presence should serve as a reminder to all residents to remove standing water from their property and to take personal protective measures against mosquito bites when spending time outdoors,” said Westchester County Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler, M.D.
The Health Department will continue mosquito surveillance efforts throughout the county. These efforts will include mosquito trapping and testing, as well as surveying catch basins for mosquito larvae or standing water.
The Health Department prepared for the summer mosquito season by applying larvicide to catch basins throughout the county in an effort to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus.
The Health Department is recommending that residents:
Avoid the outdoors in the late afternoon and early evening when mosquitoes are active and feeding, and use insect repellents when outdoors during these times. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label. Adults can apply insect repellents with up to 30 percent DEET on infants over two months of age by applying the product to their own hands and then rubbing their hands on their children. Products containing DEET are not recommended for use on children under two months of age. Wear protective clothing, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks, when outdoors, especially in areas where mosquitoes are active and feeding.
Check around property for tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that should be discarded or turned over to prevent collecting water.
Check and remove standing water from children’s toys and play houses left outside.
Remove discarded tires.
Drill holes in the bottoms of all recycling containers that are left outdoors.
Turn over plastic wading pools, buckets and wheelbarrows when not in use.
Change the water in birdbaths at least twice weekly.
Sweep driveways after it rains to clear puddles.
Keep storm drains and gutters clear of leaves and debris.
Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor spas and hot tubs, and drain water that collects on their covers.