West Nile Virus Found In Staten Island Mosquitoes
The Health Department has detected West Nile virus in New York City mosquitoes for the first time this season. The virus, isolated in Port Richmond, Staten Island on June 18, has arrived earlier than usual. No human cases have been detected. Next week, the Health Department will start dispersing aerial larvicide in non-residential areas of Staten Island, Bronx and Queens to reduce mosquito populations (details below). Surveillance and control efforts will continue through the summer.
Some people experience only mild flu-like symptoms after contracting West Nile virus, but the infection can cause also encephalitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain or spinal cord. "People over 50 are the most vulnerable," said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. "Fortunately, anyone can avoid infection. The best way to reduce your risk is to wear repellent if you go outdoors in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active."
The Health Department has stopped investigating reports of dead birds - testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus has proven to be a more effective monitoring strategy. As in past years, the agency is urging residents to take simple steps to protect themselves.
Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes