NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City Health Department will be spraying in Upper Manhattan and Queens this week to eliminate mosquitoes that might carry the West Nile or Zika virus.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will spray between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday in Fort George, Inwood, Sherman Creek, Sugar Hill, and Washington Heights in Manhattan, and in Auburndale, Bayside, Corona, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Murray Hill, Pomonok, and Queensboro Hill in Queens, according to the department.
The neighborhoods were selected with a mosquito adulticide due to a large presence of Aedes albopictus, or the Asian tiger mosquito, in mosquito traps set by the city.
The spraying will be moved to Thursday in the event of inclement weather.
Zika primarily spreads through bites from tropical mosquitoes. As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, most people won’t even know they have been infected by Zika, because it often causes no symptoms at all or just mild symptoms.
For those who do have symptoms, the most common include fever, rash, joint or muscle pain, conjunctivitis – also known as pink eye – and a headache. The symptoms usually last just a few days to a week.
The real issue is for pregnant women who are at greatest risk because the virus can cause devastating birth defects such as microcephaly, where the baby’s brain fails to develop normally.
Lacking a vaccine or treatment, the best protection against Zika is prevention of mosquito bites, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported last month. That means using insect repellent containing the ingredient DEET.
A U.S. travel warning was recently issued for a neighborhood in Miami where Zika is being spread locally by mosquitoes.
The Health Department emphasized that while Aedes albopictus mosquitoes can carry the Zika virus, there have not been any Zika cases that have originated in New York City and most of the Zika cases in Latin America, the Caribbean and Florida are caused by different species, Aedes aegypti.
For the West Nile virus, most people 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.