The Westchester County Health Department recently announced that the first two batches of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus in Westchester have been identified in Yonkers. The Health Department inspected the area surrounding the positive mosquito batches and has treated nearby catch basins to protect against further mosquito breeding nearby.
The Health Department’s West Nile Virus prevention advice is online here. Experts advise that you avoid mosquito bites by using repellents and removing any areas with standing water after it rains. You can only get West Nile Virus if you are bitten by a mosquito that has bitten an infected bird.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, West Nile Virus infection causes no symptoms in most people. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever with other flu-like symptoms. Most with this type of virus disease can recover completely.
A few people — about 1 in 150– who are infected can develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system. The disease can be more serious particularly for people 60 and older, and those with other health complications.
Last year, three residents were diagnosed with West Nile Virus and all recovered.
To protect your home and community, reducing the mosquito population by eliminating breeding grounds is key. Experts recommend the following:
- Discard or turn over cans, plastic containers and ceramic pots outside your home to avoid accumulating water.
- Remove standing water from outdoor toys and play houses.
- Remove discarded tires.
- Drill holes in the bottoms of all recycling containers that are left outdoors.
- Turn over plastic wading pools, buckets and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Change the water in birdbaths at least twice weekly.
- Keep storm drains and gutters clear of leaves and debris.
- Chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor spas and hot tubs until properly winterized or drained for the season. Also, if not chlorinated, drain any water that collects on their covers.