First Mosquito Batch in Westchester Tests Positive For West Nile Virus

mosquito west nile westchester countyThe Westchester County Department of Health has learned for the first time this year that a mosquito batch in has tested positive for West Nile Virus. The mosquito batch had been collected by County Health Department staff in New Rochelle and sent to New York State Department of Health for testing.

Last year, seven positive mosquito batches were found in Westchester County and two human cases of West Nile Virus were reported.  So far this year, there have been no reported human cases.

“This is the time of year when we typically start to identify mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus in Westchester,” said Sherlita Amler, MD. “While it should not be a major cause for concern, it would be prudent for residents to use repellents when outdoors from dusk to dawn to avoid mosquito bites altogether.”

health department monitors mosquitosThe Health Department will continue to trap and test mosquitoes and survey catch basins for mosquito larvae or standing water. No standing water was found near the trap that contained the mosquitoes that had West Nile virus, but catch basins on nearby streets will be reinspected and retreated with larvicide as needed.

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 recommends that residents:

  • Use insect repellent if you must spend time outdoors in the late afternoon and evening when mosquitoes are active and feeding. Be sure to follow the label instructions. Adults can apply insect repellents with up to 10% DEET once a day on infants over 2 months of age by applying the product to their own hands and then rubbing it onto their children, avoiding their hands.  Products containing DEET should not be used on children under 2 months of age. Instead, consider keeping them indoors when mosquitoes are most active, at dusk and dawn.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks when outdoors in the late afternoon or early evening when mosquitoes are active and feeding.
  • Check their property for buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that should be discarded or turned over.
  • 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.

Residents who notice large areas of standing water on public property that could serve as potential mosquito breeding grounds should report this to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000.

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