2006-09-08 / Community

West Nile Virus Spreads West

By Brian Magoolaghan

The West Nile Virus has turned up in another Rockaway zip code, according to city health officials who reminded residents again this week to take precautions against mosquitoes.

The virus, which is potentially deadly, was recently detected in zip code 11694 (Rockaway Park), according to a September 2 advisory issued by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The Wave reported last week that West Nile was also found in 11691 (Far Rockaway), 11692 (Arverne), and 11693 (Rockaway Beach/Broad Channel). Residents of each of those areas - especially those over the age of 50 - are being urged to use insect repellent containing DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or Picaridin and wear protective clothing such as loose fitting pants, long-sleeve shirts and socks, when going outside between dusk and dawn.

Around the home, experts recommend the use of tight-fitting screens in windows and the elimination of standing water.

The virus has turned up in three birds and 19 mosquito pools so far this year in Queens alone, but there has been only one case of human infection citywide, according to the DOHMH.

West Nile is described as a "potentially serious illness" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in 150 people will develop severe symptoms, including high fever, headache, stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, according to the CDC website, www. CDC.gov.

For more information about reducing mosquito exposure, or to report dead birds or standing water, dial 311 or visit the DOHMH website at www. NYC.gov/health.

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