2005-05-20 / Community

DOH Warns On West Nile Virus

With warmer weather already here and this year’s West Nile virus (WNV) season nearing, New York City Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, recently reminded New Yorkers that they can help prevent the spread of WNV by reporting dead birds and eliminating standing water from their property. Dr. Frieden also reminded New Yorkers to start mosquito-proofing their homes to reduce exposure to mosquitoes that can carry West Nile.

“West Nile virus remains an unpredictable disease, and we won’t be able to tell how severe a problem it will be this year,” said Dr. Frieden. “By taking steps now, New Yorkers can help to reduce mosquito populations in the City.  Eliminating standing water and reporting dead birds to 311 has proven effective in controlling WNV.  We particularly ask residents to report dead crows and blue jays, which are important indicators of WNV in our area.  To do that, simply call 311 or log on to nyc.gov/health.”

Dr. Frieden also reminded New Yorkers to start mosquito-proofing their homes by replacing torn screens in doors and windows; cleaning out gutters; and by emptying and turning over containers that could carry water allowing mosquitoes to breed. Standing water is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes and, as such, may be a violation of the City’s health code.

The Health Department will begin routine larviciding of the City’s storm drains in early June and will continue to do so throughout the summer months. If WNV activity poses a risk to human health, pesticides will be applied to targeted areas. Reduce Exposure To Mosquitoes

· Repair or replace all screens that have tears and holes.

· Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property:

· Dispose of containers that can collect standing water.

· Make sure roof gutters drain properly and rooftops are free of standing water.

· 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.

· Vases are prohibited from cemeteries during West Nile virus season.

· Use a mosquito repellant, such as those containing DEET, when outdoors in areas where mosquitoes are active. (Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective, but these products should NOT be used on children younger than three.)

To report dead birds or standing water, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/health/wnv. For more information about the West Nile virus, visit http://www.nyc.gov/health/wnv .

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