West Nile virus found in Westchester County mosquitoes

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Thursday, August 11, 2022
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The Westchester County Health Department has identified the first batch of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in that area this season.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY (WABC) -- The Westchester County Department of Health has identified the first batch of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in that area this season.

The mosquitoes were collected in Rye on July 26.

The health department is taking steps to protect against further mosquito breeding nearby.

County leaders are urging residents to protect themselves by wearing insect repellant and getting rid of any standing water.

The virus is spread by the bite of a mosquito infected with the West Nile virus. It is not spread from person to person, and many people infected do not become ill and may not develop symptoms.

About 20% of infected people will develop West Nile fever. When symptoms occur, they may be mild or severe.

Mild symptoms include flu-like illness with fever, headache, body aches, nausea and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back, while severe symptoms include high fever, neck stiffness and swelling of the brain (encephalitis) which can lead to coma, convulsions and death.

Less than 1% of infected people will develop severe symptoms. People over the age of 50 and people with weak immune systems are at greater risk of developing severe illness.

Tips for reducing mosquitoes around homes

Mosquitoes require water for reproduction. The following are measures that can help reduce mosquitoes:

--Eliminate standing water suitable for mosquitoes

--Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire swings

--Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling

--Clean clogged roof gutters.

--Turn over objects that may trap water when not in use, such as wading pools and wheelbarrows

--Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis

--Clean and chlorinate swimming pools. When pools are not in use, use pool covers and drain when necessary

Tips for avoiding mosquito bites when outdoors

Mosquitoes require a blood meal for reproduction. The following are measures that can help reduce bites from mosquitoes that feed on people:

--Be particularly careful at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

--Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.

--Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors.

--Consider the use of CDC-recommended mosquito repellents, containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone, and apply according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.

--When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6 percent lasts approximately two hours and 20 percent for four hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than two months old.

Also, be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair to avoid mosquito bites when indoors.

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