Thursday, September 16, 2010

ATTENTION: NYers- Residents Over 50- Take Precaution Against West Nile Virus

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene strongly suggests all New Yorkers- especially those aged 50 and older– take extra precautions against the West Nile Virus.

Mosquito-born infection is at unusually high levels throughout the five boroughs; this year, DOHMH has recorded more human cases at this point in the season than it has in any other year since 2000. More cases are expected through October.

New Yorkers can take simple steps to minimize contact with mosquitoes and prevent infection with West Nile Virus:

* Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.

* Make sure windows have screens, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

* Eliminate any standing water from your property, and dispose of containers that can collect water. Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code.

* Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.

* Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.

* Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting

To date, 211 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with West Nile viral disease since it was first found in the United States in 1999, including 3 in 2009 and 15 in 2008.

The Health Department uses an “integrated pest management” approach to monitor the city for West Nile Virus and control its spread by mosquitoes. The agency inspects and treats standing water sites with non-chemical larvicides to kill larval mosquitoes before they emerge as flying adults. When necessary, the agency also applies small amounts of chemical pesticides (adulticides) to kill adult mosquitoes. A schedule of mosquito control activities is available online at or by phone from the 311 call center.

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