NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has detected the West Nile virus in mosquitoes within the five boroughs for the first time this season.
The infected mosquitoes were found in the Douglaston and College Point sections of Queens, and in the Old Town section of Staten Island, the department said in a news release.
No human cases of the virus have been reported so far this season.
The Health Department said it plans to increase mosquito surveillance by setting up traps and treating catch basins, and will spray larvicide in areas where mosquitoes might be found.
Larvicide will be sprayed by helicopter to marsh and other uninhabited areas of Staten Island, the Bronx, and Queens this coming Thursday, Friday and Monday between the ages of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. – weather permitting. If the weather does not cooperate, the spraying is planned for Friday and for Monday and Tuesday of next week.
Most people who contract West Nile virus don’t suffer any symptoms, but generally, people over the age of 50 are more susceptible to the flulike symptoms that can accompany the virus.
In most instances, mild cases of West Nile can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, headaches, swollen glands and sore throats. In addition to older adults, children are also at high risk.
To reduce the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes, the Health Department has previously advised using an insect repellent using picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products with the active ingredient IR3535. The department also advised making sure that windows have screens that are in good repair; that roof gutters are clean and draining properly; and that swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs are cleaned and chlorinated.
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