Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert on Monday announced that the first pool, or group, of mosquitoes to test positive this year in Rockland County for West Nile Virus (WNV), has been confirmed by the New York State Department of Health. The infected mosquitoes were collected from a trap in the Town of Orangetown during the week of August 3 as part of the County’s ongoing mosquito surveillance efforts. No human cases have been reported this season.
“We typically expect to see a rise in West Nile Virus activity during the summer months, and this positive mosquito pool confirms that,” said Dr. Ruppert.
The first positive mosquito pool test in 2019 was the week of July 15.
The first positive mosquito pool test in 2018 was the week of June 29.
The first positive mosquito pool test in 2017 was the week of June 19.
The first positive mosquito pool test in 2016 was the week of July 10.
Most mosquitoes do not test positive for disease-causing viruses. However, a bite from a West Nile Virus -infected mosquito can cause serious illness, and in some cases, death. Although a person’s chances of getting sick are small, those aged 50 and older are at the highest risk for serious illness. Not everyone infected with West Nile Virus will become ill. However, West Nile can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness, including fever, headache and body aches, nausea, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile Virus, see your doctor right away.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs on or near areas of standing water, and their offspring “grow up” in the water before emerging as adults that fly and bite. Many types of mosquitoes, including those that can spread disease, prefer areas of stagnant (still) water found around the home such as in birdbaths, bottle caps, unused flowerpots, discarded tires, as well as in small ponds or other bodies of stagnant water.
“Health Department mosquito control teams will continue to visit all known mosquito breeding sites, including sites near this positive mosquito pool. Larval control activities will continue throughout the summer,” said Dr. Ruppert.
There is a lot you can do to reduce mosquitoes around your home and yard:
- Check your property for any items that can hold water. Get rid of the items or empty the water out and scrub the inside of the item at least once a week.
- Drill drain holes in the bottoms of recycling containers, turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use, and remove all discarded tires.
- If you have a swimming pool or spa that is not in use, drain the water off the cover or treat the standing water with Mosquito Dunks, and post accordingly. The Rockland County Department of Health (RCDOH) provides homeowners with Mosquito Dunks for their private swimming pools, via curbside pick-up. Giveaway events will take place for one hour, one day per week, alternating every other Tuesday & Friday, through October 2020, while supplies last. For more information and to see the schedule of remaining giveaway dates, visit https://bit.ly/30Uf6xC.
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
- Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitoes rest. Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.
- If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
- Make sure that roof gutters drain properly, clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds, and remove leaf debris from yards and gardens.
To reduce your risk of being bitten, take the following steps:
- Cover-up as completely as possible. Wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are more active.
- Use mosquito repellent, which should always be applied according to label directions. Do not use repellent on babies younger than two months old. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children younger than 3-years-old.
- Cover baby carriers with mosquito netting when outside.
- Stay indoors when mosquitoes are more active.
- Close doors and make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that the screens do not have rips, tears, or holes.