Brooklyn Boro

West Nile Virus spraying to begin in Brooklyn

City sees highest number of mosquitoes ever recorded

September 1, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
The NYC Health Department will be spraying for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Brooklyn and Queens Thursday night. But what is in that spray, and is it safe to breathe? AP file photo by Rick Bowmer
Share this:

In the wake of two cases of West Nile virus being discovered last month, one in Brooklyn and the other in Queens, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene plans to spray in Brooklyn and Queens next week.

In Brooklyn, Health Department personnel will spray larvicide between 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Sept. 6, according to the department.

The spraying will take place in Borough Park, Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Greenwood Heights, Kensington, Little Caribbean, Little Haiti, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope, Prospect Park, Prospect Park South, South Slope, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace. This effort will be followed in Southwest Queens two days later.

The Health Department uses low-risk larvicide that is safe for both people and pets. It works by killing mosquito larvae before they can grow up to be adults.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

In the city as a whole, mosquito and West Nile virus activity is rising, with a total of 1,068 positive mosquito pools across the five boroughs—the highest number ever recorded — compared to 779 positive pools detected at this time last year. An average of 77 mosquitoes were caught in each trap per day. Once trapped, a large number of mosquitoes are then tested in a single pooled sample or “pool.”

“We are in the height of West Nile virus season, but there are things you can do to decrease your risk of being bitten,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Use an EPA registered insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, especially when outside at dusk and dawn when the types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV are most active. In addition, you can stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water by emptying outdoor containers that hold water or calling 311 if you see standing water that you cannot empty.”

The city controls the mosquito population by applying larvicide in catch basins, marshland and other areas with standing water. The Health Department has already begun catch-basin larviciding, with two helicopter-based larviciding events each in the marsh areas of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. 

In addition, the Department sprays pesticides to target adult mosquitoes where persistent West Nile virus activity is detected, with six adulticiding events in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island this season.

While the majority of patients infected with WNV will go on to fully recover from their illness, some continue to have problems months after infection. In addition, some people (about 1 in 150), especially those 60 years and older or with a weakened immune system, can develop a serious and potentially fatal illness of the brain and spinal cord called West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND) leading to changes in mental status and muscle weakness requiring hospitalization, according to the Health Department.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment