Fight the Bite to Prevent West Nile Virus
Pomona, NY – The Rockland County Department of Health urges residents to check for and get rid of standing water on their property, because mosquitoes can develop in any standing water that lasts more than four days.
“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,” said Dr. Joan H. Facelle, Rockland County Commissioner of Health.
To date, 395 mosquito samples were submitted for testing to the New York State Department of Health, and 88 of these samples, county-wide, tested positive for the West Nile Virus. There have been no human cases of West Nile Virus in Rockland County.
Take these steps to fight the bite:
- Check your yard for ANY items that can hold water. Even the smallest amount of standing water can serve as a breeding site. Get rid of the items or empty the water out at least once a week.
- Make sure that all windows and doors have screens and that all screens are in good repair.
- 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.
- Clean and properly chlorinate and filtrate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Drain water from pool covers or use a larvicide, such as Mosquito Dunks®. The Health Department provides free Mosquito Dunks® to private residential pool owners ONLY for use in swimming pool covers or in uncovered swimming pools that are not being disinfected and filtered.
In addition, although it is not necessary to cut down on any outdoor activities, you can reduce the risk of being bitten by protecting yourself and your family in the following ways:
- 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 going to be outdoors when or where mosquitoes are active, consider using an insect repellent. Follow directions on the label.
To learn more, visit http://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/environmental-health/mosquito-control/ or call the Health Department at 364-3173. To learn more about West Nile Virus, visit the New York State Department of Health website at http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/west_nile_virus/fact_sheet.htm.