NYC steps up efforts to block Zika
Several Brooklyn neighborhoods breeding grounds for mosquitoes
New York City is intensifying its efforts to kill mosquitos that might carry the Zika virus before they start spreading the disease.
The city’s Department of Health (DOH) has doubled its mosquito monitoring capacity and is spraying pesticides from trucks, backpacks and by helicopter.
Two mosquito species with the probable capacity to carry the disease, which causes malformed brains and abnormally small heads in babies (microcephaly) and possibly brain damage in adults, have been detected in New York City: Aedes albopictus and Culex.
So far, none of these mosquitoes were found to carry Zika. Some, however, carried the West Nile virus.
Aedes albopictus is related to Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that has been spreading Zika in other countries. In Brazil, Zika was also discovered in Culex, the common house mosquito. Culex also spreads West Nile virus.
Brooklyn’s most mosquito-dense areas
Many neighborhoods in Brooklyn appear to be mosquito breeding grounds.
According to figures just released by DOH, the highest number of mosquitos caught in traps in Brooklyn were in or near Cypress Hills, Sunset Park, Flatbush, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Marine Park and East Flatbush, followed by Canarsie, South Crown Heights and Clinton Hill.
A large number of mosquitoes were also found just across Newtown Creek in Hunters Point, Queens, so Greenpoint may be an area of concern.
The highest concentration of mosquitoes in the city was found in Jackson Heights, Queens. DOH has released a map showing the numbers of trapped mosquitoes at each location.
Brooklyn neighborhoods have received a barrage of pesticide treatments. The latest round, on Aug. 23, included parts of Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton and New Utrecht.
Another round that same day covered parts of Brownsville, Broadway Junction, Bushwick, Crown Heights, Cypress Hills, East New York, Glendale, Highland Park, New Lots, Ocean Hill, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Remsen Village, Ridgewood, Rugby, Stuyvesant Heights, Weekville and Wingate.
Other Brooklyn neighborhoods were sprayed earlier this summer.
NYC Zika stats
As of Aug. 19, 505 cases of Zika were reported across the five boroughs, with 118 in Brooklyn.
Almost all of the victims picked up the virus while traveling to Zika-stricken areas such as Latin and Central America and the Caribbean. Of the 505 cases, 473 were confirmed as being travel-related (the most common point of infection was the Dominican Republic); 32 have not yet been confirmed. One victim was infected sexually.
In New York City, the virus has been detected in 357 women and 148 men. Of the women, 51 are pregnant. One baby in the city was born with microcephaly.
In adults, Zika symptoms include fever, a widespread skin rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis. Though Zika presents with mild symptoms in most people, pregnant women, women seeking to become pregnant and their partners are warned not to travel to Zika-affected areas (this now includes several neighborhoods in Miami Beach).
New York City has dedicated $21 million in funding over the next three years to fight Zika.
The city is asking residents to remove all standing water, even as small as a cup, or call 311 to report standing water on other property.
“We take reports of standing water very seriously and investigate each one we receive,” DOH said in a statement. “If a Health Department inspector notices conditions that attract mosquitoes, he or she will issue a violation to the property owner.” Call 311 to report standing water.
Six Brooklyn violations have been issued since Aug. 13.
To learn more, visit the DOH website.
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