A pool of mosquitoes has tested positive for West Nile Virus in Rockland County, according to the New York State Department of Health.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announced that the infected mosquitoes were collected from a trap in Ramapo last week as the county continues surveillance efforts on the virus in the area.
According to the Department of Health, “a bite from an infected mosquito can spread West Nile Virus, an infection that can cause serious illness, and in some cases, death.” Officials noted that the chances of getting sick are slim, though those over the age of 50 are at the highest risk for potentially serious illnesses.
“Not everyone infected with West Nile Virus will become ill,” officials said. “However, West Nile can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness, including fever, headache and body aches, nausea, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.”
To help reduce the mosquito population, residents have been advised by the Department of Health to:
- Check your property for any items that can hold water. Get rid of the items or empty the water out and scrub the inside of the item at least once a week.
- Drill drain holes in the bottoms of recycling containers, turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use, and remove all discarded tires.
- If you have a swimming pool or spa that is not in use, drain the water off the cover or treat this standing water with Mosquito Dunks. The dunks are available free of charge at the Health Department, Building D, 50 Sanatorium Road in Pomona.
- Tightly cover water storage containers such as buckets, cisterns, and rain barrels so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
- Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitoes rest. Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.
- If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
- Make sure that roof gutters drain properly, clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds, and remove leaf debris from yards and gardens.
"Health Department mosquito control teams will continue to treat all known mosquito breeding sites, including sites near this positive mosquito pool. Larval control activities will continue throughout the summer,” Ruppert said.
The Health Department also offered advice to residents looking to avoid being bit at all:
- Cover-up as completely as possible. Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are more active.
- Use mosquito repellent, which should always be applied according to label directions. Do not use repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children younger than 3 years old.
- Cover baby carriers with mosquito netting when outside.
- Stay indoors when mosquitoes are more active.
- Close doors and make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that the screens do not have rips, tears or holes.
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