ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- The first group of mosquitoes to test positive this year in Rockland County for West Nile Virus has been confirmed by the New York State Department of Health, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announced Friday.
The infected mosquitoes were collected in the Town of Clarkstown during the week of June 19 as part of the County's ongoing West Nile Virus surveillance efforts. No human cases have been reported this season.
Even the smallest amount of standing water can serve as a breeding site. Mosquitoes lay eggs at these sites, which will hatch within a few days.
"This is the time of the year we expect to see a rise in West Nile Virus activity and the positive results confirm that," Ruppert said. "Health Department mosquito control teams will continue to treat all known mosquito breeding sites, including those near these positive mosquito pools. Larval control activities will continue throughout the summer."
A bite from an infected mosquito can spread West Nile Virus, an infection that can cause serious illness, and in some cases, death. Although a person’s chances of getting sick are small, those 50 and older are at highest risk for serious illness.
Not everyone infected with West Nile Virus will become ill. However, West Nile can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness with headache, fever and fatigue, weakness and sometimes rash. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile Virus, see your doctor right away.
Follow these tips to help prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property:
- Check your property for ANY items that can hold water. Even small items, such as drinking cups or soda cans, can produce mosquitoes. 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 that is not in use, drain the water off the cover or treat this standing water with Mosquito Dunks®. The dunks are for homeowner swimming pool use ONLY and are available free of charge at the Health Department, Building D, 50 Sanatorium Road in Pomona, Monday - Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm, while supplies last. It is important to know the size of your pool when coming to pick up your dunks. In addition, residents can request free larvicide tablets by calling the New York State Department of Health at 1-888-364-4723.
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, 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.
Most mosquitoes are not infected with disease-causing viruses. However, to reduce your risk of being bitten, take the following steps:
- Cover your skin 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 or para-menthane-diol 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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