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Mamaroneck Woman Won't Heed Cautions for West Nile

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Mamaroneck residents like Kathy LaRusso may not be flinching at this year's first positive sample of West Nile Virus in Westchester, but health organizations are suggesting precautionary steps to stay safe.

LaRusso spent the day at the Harbor Island beach with her daughters Brianna, 9, and Ciara, 6. Ciara complained that the mosquitoes were all over her, but her mother explained that they were probably flies because mosquitoes aren't common near bodies of salt water.

"I would be more concerned if there were more open water that collected, but here, it pretty much dries up," the Mamaroneck resident said. "Even the spray ground dries up pretty quickly."

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.

There have been no reported cases of West Nile in humans this year. The department said it? will continue to monitor and test mosquitoes in the area.

The health department recommends that residents avoid the outdoors in the late afternoons and early evenings and use insect repellent when out at these times.

Trisha Corrado, a Mamaroneck resident, said she ?isn't concerned about en?countering mosquitoes carrying the disease either, but thinks the beaches and pools should take precautionary measures to ensure there are no outbreaks in the area.

?????????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 contain10 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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