3rd confirmed West Nile death on LI

September 12, 2008 7:17:39 AM PDT
Health officials on Long Island say a 90-year-old Nassau County man has died after contracting the West Nile virus. The death of the Mineola man is the third in the county linked to the mosquito-borne illness this year. Health officials have not made his identity public.

They also confirmed Thursday a fourth case of the virus, that of a 56-year-old woman. The total number of confirmed West Nile cases this year now stands at nine.

The man's death comes a day after aerial spraying across a part of Nassau County in an attempt to reduce the mosquito population.

County officials say they will monitor mosquito traps to determine whether additional spraying of adult mosquitoes is necessary.

Nassau County began tracking the virus in 1999.

There are some things that you can do to try and keep mosquitos with the virus from invading your home.

Many people in the suburbs love their backyards for the peace they can provide but unfortunately it's easy making tens of thousands of mosquitoes right at home, especially if you have a bird bath.

"You have to empty it every two to three days just replace the water," said Michael Deutch.

Mosquitoes prefer polluted water which is also found in flower pot pans .

Something else to empty is lawn ornaments.

And how about makeshift toys like tires which are often used as tree swings?

"You tilt it over and water just moves to other side. You need a sponge to dry it out," adds Deutch.

Deutch with Arrow Exterminating says he talks to people everyday about how to go to battle against mosquitoes and he also gets hired to do it for them . But warns there isn't a one time quick fix.

Experts say this is more of an integrated management program. People think those bug eater machines might help but it won't do all of the work.

But again- mosquitoes can still be lurking in your gutters and in inconspicuous holes in old trees.

You can do most mosquito proofing on your own. But again, expect it to be tedious. Mosquitoes reproduce fast and while they don't travel far they do travel.

Only females bite, well, technically they suck your blood and leave parasites and other chemicals.

And only male mosquitos make that pesky buzzing noise. So if you hear a buzz, make getting bitten one less thing to worry about as long as its female counterpart isn't there too.

In 2007, Nassau County had two cases with no deaths; in 2006 there were five cases including one death; and in 2005 there were 12 cases with one death. Commissioner of Health Dr. Maria Torroella Carney urges residents to:

  • Empty standing water from old tires, garbage cans, or any object that can hold water
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall
  • Keep swimming pools chlorinated and their covers free of stagnant water
  • Change the water in birdbaths every two or three days
  • Keep window and door screens in good repair
  • Consider wearing long sleeves, pants, socks and mosquito repellent (according to directions) where mosquitoes are active, especially in the late afternoon and at dawn and dusk
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when outside, especially at dawn and dusk

    To report a mosquito problem, please call the Department of Public Works Mosquito Control at 516-572-1166 weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Residents can hear the latest information about West Nile virus by calling (516) 227-9700. The information is available 24 hours a day. In addition, West Nile information may be found on the Health Department Web site at NassauCountyNY.gov/agencies/health/

    How to Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes:

  • Use an approved mosquito repellent in areas where mosquitoes are active. Repellents containing the active ingredients DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are approved for use by New York State and the U.S. EPA and for protection against biting mosquitoes. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than three. Always read the repellent's label and follow instructions.
  • New York City residents can report dead birds or standing water by calling 311 or visiting NYC.gov.
  • The Health Department's Web site has up-to-date information and maps on mosquito activity.

    For more information:

    National Library of Medicine: West Nile Virus

    KidsHealth: What is West Nile Virus?


    WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King