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West Nile-infected mosquitoes found again in Brooklyn

Standing water is often host to threat

July 22, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus have been detected in all five boroughs of New York City, including four Brooklyn ZIP codes, according to the city Department of Health.

The four Brooklyn ZIP codes where West Nile-infected mosquitoes have been found during the past month are 11207 (Starrett City-East New York, close to the Jamaica Bay shoreline), 11206 (the Broadway Triangle area), 11228 (Dyker Heights, on Gravesend Bay), and 11232 (Sunset Park, also on the waterfront).

Mosquitoes in general, including those infected with West Nile, are usually found near bodies of standing water. Most people who are infected with West Nile Virus don’t develop serious illnesses beyond temporary symptoms of fever or fatigue, but some can develop  a serious and potentially fatal infection of the brain and spinal cord. Those over 50 or who have weakened immune system are most at risk.

A worker with the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene holds a handful of larvicide granules in his gloved hand. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

“Let’s not forget safety while enjoying summer fun,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “Take simple steps to protect you and your loved ones from mosquito bites this summer: use insect repellent and cover arms and legs. Standing water can harbor mosquitoes. If you encounter pools of standing water, call 311.”

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 There are more than 50 permanent surveillance sites citywide, and the Health Department installs additional mosquito traps around affected areas to enhance mosquito surveillance. The department uses a comprehensive, integrated management approach to prevent and control mosquitoes which can transmit West Nile virus. 

A helicopter with the New York City Health Department flies over Staten Island en route to spreading granules of mosquito larvicide on marshland in Brooklyn. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The city controls the mosquito population by applying larvicide (a form of insecticide) in catch basins, marshland and other areas with standing water. The Health Department has already begun catch-basin larviciding and conducted two helicopter-based larviciding events in the marsh areas of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Pesticides can also be sprayed to target adult mosquitoes where persistent West Nile virus activity is detected.

In the past, Brooklyn neighborhoods that have been sprayed for West Nile have included Bergen Beach, Canarsie, Flatlands, Georgetown, Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Mill Island, Paerdegat Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Spring Creek and Starrett City. Usually, the spraying has been done overnight, and in non-residential areas.

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