WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A mosquito batch collected in Mamaroneck tested positive for West Nile virus, according to a statement Friday afternoon by the Westchester County Health Department.
This batch is the first collected in Westchester this year to test positive and has been sent to the New York State Department of Health for further testing. While there have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans this year in Westchester County, infected mosquitoes have been found in Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as in Queens and on Staten Island, the Westchester Health Department said.
Last year in Westchester County, 32 batches of mosquitoes tested positive, the first of them in August, and three cases of West Nile virus in humans were reported.
"We expect to find mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus at about this time, so we hope confirmation of their presence reminds residents to take precautions," Dr. Sherlita Amler, Westchester County health commissioner, said. "The best ways to avoid West Nile are to remove standing water from gutters and play equipment, empty buckets and other containers around your property and to turn over children’s pools after their use. Residents also should avoid spending time outdoors at dusk or apply insect repellents according to the label directions.’’
The Health Department recommends that residents:
- Avoid the outdoors in the early evening, when mosquitoes are active and feeding.
- Use insect repellents when outdoors at dusk, following the repellent directions. Adults can apply onto their own hands insect repellents with up to 30 percent DEET and then rub the repellent onto their children. Products containing DEET are not recommended for use on children under 2 months old.
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks when outdoors in areas where mosquitoes are present and at times when mosquitoes are feeding.
- Check for cans, containers and ceramic pots, and discard them or turn them over.
- Remove standing water from children’s toys, pools, wheelbarrows and play houses.
- Remove discarded tires.
- Drill holes in the bottoms of all recycling containers that are left outdoors.
- Change the water in birdbaths at least twice weekly.
- Sweep driveways after it rains to clear puddles.
- Keep storm drains and gutters clear of leaves and debris.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoors spas and hot tubs, and drain water that collects on their covers.
People who notice large areas of standing water, which are ideal breeding environments for mosquitoes, on public property should contact the Westchester County Department of Health by email or phone at 914-813-5000.