2003-05-30 / Community

Mosquito Reduction Strategies Offered

Mosquito Reduction Strategies Offered

New York has its first confirmed finding of West Nile virus for 2003.

A crow collected in Bedford, Westchester County, on May 5 was infected with the mosquito-borne virus, according to results from the State Health Department’s Wadsworth Center laboratories. The infected crow is the first among 367 birds collected and submitted to the State Health Department since January 1, 2003 to test positive.

Crows are more likely than birds of other species to die if they are infected with the West Nile virus. Data collected in New York during the past several years indicate that West Nile virus primarily circulates between birds and mosquitoes this early in the season. Infected mosquitoes bite birds, which subsequently transmit the infection to other mosquitoes, as the cycle continues. Last year, West Nile virus was confirmed in birds and/or mosquitoes in 59 of New York’s 62 counties.

The following strategies are recommended to reduce mosquito-breeding sites:

Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, and similar water-holding containers.

Remove all discarded tires on your property. Used tires have become the most common mosquito breeding ground in the country.

Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.

Make sure gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.

Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

Change the water in birdbaths.

Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.

Drain water from pool covers.

Use landscaping to eliminate stagnant water that collects on your property; clean up leaf litter and similar organic debris.

To keep mosquitoes from getting inside the home, make sure that all doors and windows have screens and that the screens are in good repair.

West Nile virus sometimes causes mild, "flu-like" symptoms but can also produce serious complications, including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

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