First Positive West Nile Virus Case in Westchester

First Positive West Nile Virus Case in Westchester

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Westchester County has learned of its first human case of West Nile Virus this year, which was confirmed today in a 72-year-old Yonkers resident who had been hospitalized, and is now recovering at home.

The Westchester County Department of Health searched for signs of mosquito breeding activity around the resident’s home and found no visible mosquito breeding areas or conditions that would support mosquito activity.

“This first case of West Nile Virus should serve as a reminder to residents to take precautions against mosquito bites by removing standing water from their property after it rains and using repellents if they spend time outdoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active,” said Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of Health.

WHITE PLAINS, NY –As in prior years, the Health Department prepared for the mosquito season by evaluating and treating as needed with larvicide, all catch basins on county and municipal roads throughout Westchester. The larvicide, which comes in a solid chunk about the size of a charcoal briquette, is placed in catch basins that hold standing water and are free of leaves and other debris. 

So far this year, 15 positive mosquito batches were identified in Westchester, starting July 30.

West Nile Virus infection most often causes a mild or moderate flu-like illness, but can be more serious particularly for people 60 and older, and  those with other health complications. Two to four residents were diagnosed with West Nile Virus in each of the past five years; all recovered.

To help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds where you live and to reduce your risk of mosquito bites:

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 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.

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.

Keep storm drains and gutters clear of leaves and debris.

Even with the swimming season over, continue to chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor spas and hot tubs until properly winterized or drained for the season.  Also, if not chlorinated, drain any water that collects on their covers.