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Larchmont Woman Not Concerned about West Nile

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Like most Larchmont residents, Sheila Halligan hadn't heard anything about the first positive sample of West Nile virus found in Westchester this year, but now that she is armed with the information, she said she plans to take the recommended precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

"I'm very susceptible to mosquito bites and it's been so hot this year," Halligan said. "I'm not that concerned, but I will probably use bug repellent."

A mosquito batch collected in Hastings by the Westchester County Department of Health tested positive for the West Nile virus, announced a press release from the department on Aug. 4.

In 2010, there were a total of 13 positive mosquito batches found in Westchester County and four cases of West Nile virus in humans. Last year's first positive batch of mosquitoes was reported in early August. The disease is most common in August and early September.

So far, there have been no reported cases of West Nile in humans this year. The health department said it? will continue to monitor and test mosquitoes in the area. They recommends that residents avoid the outdoors in the late afternoons and early evenings and use insect repellent when outside in the evenings.

"I'm a little nervous, especially with all of the rain we've had and the problems with runoff," said Annie Amorosana, who plans to wear bug repellent while outside.

?????????Here are the Centers for Disease Control's tips for avoiding West Nile virus:

?• Use mosquito repellant only on exposed skin and/or clothing.

• Use repellants that contain 10 percent or less DEET for children and no more than 30 percent DEET for adults. Don't use repellents with DEET on infants and small children. When using repellant, do not spray toward face or under clothes. Apply with hands away from cuts, eyes and mouth.

• Reducing the number of mosquitoes in your backyard can help decrease the spread of West Nile virus. Cleaning roof gutters or any areas where water collects will help to eliminate their breeding grounds.

If you do become infected with West Nile virus, you might experience minor symptoms, such as low-grade fever and mild headache. Or, you might not experience any symptoms at all. Fewer than 1 percent of the people sickened develop life-threatening illnesses, such as West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis that include inflammation of the brain, the CDC says.

According to the CDC, the mild signs and symptoms of West Nile virus infection (fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue) generally go away on their own, but severe signs and symptoms — severe headache, disorientation, lack of coordination, convulsions, tremors or sudden weakness -- require immediate attention.

?The CDC states relatively few reports of infection in dogs and cats. Check with your veterinarian about how to protect them from mosquitoes.?

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