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New York City: Not A Place Where You Might Expect West Nile Virus

The New York City Health Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced on July 14th that mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus were collected for the first time this year. Throughout the mosquito season, the Department uses traps that allow them to examine mosquitoes for infections. Testing involves identifying mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus or other mosquito-borne illnesses. The samples on July 14th contained mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile in both Queens and Staten Island.

West Nile Virus is prevalent in bird populations and can be fatal to birds. Most bird species are able to live with the infection. For members of the crow and jay species, however, the disease is sometimes fatal. A bird infected with West Nile Virus can transmit it to any mosquito that bites them. If an infected mosquito bites us, we become infected also. The samples from Queens and Staten Island show that the initial transmission from bird to mosquito has occurred in those locations.

A recent story titled, West Nile Virus Detected in New York City Mosquitoes, reports there were 41 cases of West Nile Virus among New Yorkers in 2012. Nearly 15% of those New York residents
succumbed to the disease. Those residents over the age of 50 are most vulnerable. The year 2013 was a better one for New Yorkers, where only 10 cases were confirmed.

Nationwide 2,500 people in the US contracted West Nile Virus in 2013. In 2012, that number was double. Weather, of course, plays a big role in how the virus will spread. Mosquitoes need water to lay eggs. Water or moist soil is required for the eggs to hatch and they can do so within 4 days of being laid. In order to stop the spread of the disease, the NY City Health Department is asking residents to empty bird baths regularly and inspect their yards for places where water might pool, such as flower pots, unattended pet bowls, plastic kiddie pools, loose tarps or covers for outdoor furniture, even roof gutters. Anywhere there is water; mosquitoes are likely to use it. Standing water on your property is also a violation of the NY City Health Code.

For your personal protection, try to limit your time outdoors from late morning to early afternoon when mosquitoes are less active. Wear long sleeves and loose pants to protect yourself from bites when outdoors. Covering up is especially important when you will be outside for an extended period. If you and your family do spend much time in your yard like most of us, consider an effective mosquito barrier treatment like the one offered by Sub:BusinessName}. A perimeter barrier treatment can eliminate 85-90% of the mosquitoes in your yard. We will also help you identify those places where mosquitoes hide and explain how you can remove the welcome mat for them.

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