2005-05-26 / Medical

Annual West Nile Virus Alert

With warmer weather due any day now, this year’s West Nile virus (WNV) season nearing, New York City Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Thomas Frieden, reminds New Yorkers that they can help prevent its spread by reporting dead birds and eliminating standing water from their property.

“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. “Dr. Frieden also reminded New Yorkers to start mosquito-proofing their homes by replacing torn screens in doors and windows; cleaning out roof 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.

Frieden also suggested:

• 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 cemeteriesduring 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

/wny. For more information about West Nile Virus, visit http://www.nyc.

gov/health/wnv.

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