FOURTEEN MOSQUITO BATCHES COLLECTED IN RYE BROOK, RYE, MOUNT VERNON, YONKERS, ELMSFORD & HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON TEST POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS
No Spraying Planned
The Westchester County Department of Health has received notification from the New York State Department of Health that six mosquito batches found in Rye Brook, two mosquito batches found in Rye, one mosquito batch found in Mount Vernon, one mosquito batch found in Yonkers, one mosquito batch found in Elmsford, and three mosquito batches found in Hastings-on-Hudson have tested positive for the West Nile virus. The positive mosquito batches were collected for testing on August 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. This brings the total number of positive mosquito batches found in Westchester County this year up to 16. There are no human cases to date.
The Health Department will continue with mosquito surveillance efforts throughout the county, as well as in the area where the positive batches of mosquitoes were found. These efforts will include mosquito trapping and testing as well as surveying catch basins for mosquito larvae or standing water. No spraying is planned at this time.
Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Lipsman said these findings are to be expected at this time of the year. “The first cases of West Nile virus in the United States were identified during Labor Day weekend in 1999. It is particularly important that residents remain vigilant in their efforts to reduce their risk of West Nile virus during the late summer months because this is peak mosquito season,” said Dr. Lipsman. “These findings should serve as a reminder that residents need to take personal protection measures against mosquito bites while in their homes and when spending time outdoors.” Dr. Lipsman recommends that residents take the following precautions:
- Avoid being outdoors in places and during times where and when mosquitoes are active and feeding.
- Use insect repellants with no more than 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) when outdoors in such areas at those times. Products containing DEET are not recommended for use on children under 2 months of age. Insect repellants should be used especially at dusk and evening hours when mosquitoes are most likely to bite. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
- 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 and feeding.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
“It is also important that residents do their part to reduce potential mosquito breeding sites around their homes,” Dr. Lipsman said. “Mosquitoes capable of carrying West Nile virus lay their eggs in stagnant water. The eggs can develop in any pool or puddle of untreated water that stands undisturbed for more than four days,” he warned. The County Health Department recommends doing the following around your home:
- Rid your property of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers
- Remove discarded tires
- Drill holes in the bottoms of all recycling containers that are left outdoors
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use
- Change the water in birdbaths at least twice weekly
- Sweep your driveway after it rains so that it is free of 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.
Under County Executive Andy Spano's mosquito control program, Operation Mosquito S.T.I.N.G. (Stop The Insect's Next Generation), the County has applied larvicide to catch basins countywide to kill immature mosquitoes. Residents who notice large areas of standing water that could serve as potential mosquito breeding grounds should report this information to the Health Department by calling (914) 813-5000 or online through its internet site, www.westchestergov.com/health. Residents may also keep current with research on alternative insect repellents by visiting the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov.