COUNTY PRESS RELEASE
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert last week announced that the first pool, or group, of mosquitoes to test positive this year in New York State for West Nile Virus (WNV) has been confirmed by the New York State Department of Health in Rockland County. The infected mosquitoes were collected in the Town of Clarkstown during the week of June 15 as part of the County’s ongoing West Nile Virus surveillance efforts. No human cases have been reported this season.
“This is the time of the year we expect to see a rise in West Nile Virus activity and the positive results confirm that,” said Commissioner Ruppert. “Health Department mosquito control teams will continue to treat all known mosquito breeding sites, including those near these positive mosquito pools. Larval control activities will continue throughout the summer.”
Mosquitoes carry several diseases, including West Nile Virus and dog heartworm. Even the smallest amount of standing water can serve as a breeding site. Mosquitoes lay eggs in these sites that hatch within a few days. Follow these tips to help reduce exposure to mosquitoes:
- Check your property for ANY items that can hold water. Even small items, such as drinking cups or soda cans, can produce mosquitoes. Get rid of the items or empty the water out at least once a week.
- If you have a swimming pool that is not in use, drain the water off the cover or treat this standing water with Mosquito Dunks®. They contain bacteria that kill mosquitoes in their larval stage in water, before they become flying, biting adults. The dunks are available free of charge at the Health Department, Building D, 50 Sanatorium Road in Pomona, Monday – Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm, while supplies last. It is important to know the size of your pool when coming to pick up your dunks.
- Drill drain holes in the bottoms of recycling containers, turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use, and remove all discarded tires.
- Make sure that roof gutters drain properly.
- Clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds and remove leaf debris from yards and gardens.
- Make sure that all windows and doors have screens and that all screens are in good repair.
A bite from an infected mosquito can spread West Nile Virus, an infection that can cause serious illness, and in some cases, death. Although a person’s chances of getting sick are small, those 50 and older are at highest risk for serious illness. You can reduce the risk of mosquito bites by taking the following steps:
- Minimize outdoor activities when mosquitoes are active.
- Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active.
- If you are plan to be outdoors when or where mosquitoes are active, consider using an insect repellent. Follow directions on the label.
Not everyone infected with West Nile virus will become ill. However, West Nile virus can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness with headache, fever and fatigue, weakness and sometimes rash. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, see your doctor right away.
To learn more, visit www.rocklandgov.com/health or call the Health Department at (845) 364-3173. To learn more about West Nile Virus, visit the New York State Department of Health website at www.health.ny.gov.