Use repellent and drain standing water, health officials say
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
West Nile virus has been detected in infected mosquitoes in Brooklyn and is spreading rapidly, according to data provided by the New York City Department of Health (DOH).
On August 9, the latest date for which information was reported, West Nile was detected in Dyker Heights, Broadway Junction, Gravesend, Georgetown, Farragut, Flatbush, Greenwood Heights and Canarsie. (Zip codes include: 11203, 11207, 11214, 11228, 11232, 11234, 11236)
While mosquitoes carrying West Nile had been detected in Staten Island and Queens earlier this summer, they were discovered in Brooklyn for the first time on August 2, in the neighborhood of Dyker Heights.
While most people infected with West Nile suffer no long-term damage, about 20 percent come down with West Nile Fever or more severe “neuroinvasive” effects ranging from headache or neck stiffness to convulsions, inflammation of the brain or death.
Last year, across the city, 26 people suffered from neuroinvasive effects, with 6 in Brooklyn. Of these, 23 percent (6 people) died. Another 15 came down with West Nile Fever, 6 of those in Brooklyn.
According to DOH, people in areas where the virus has been detected – especially those over 50 – should take extra care to prevent mosquito bites. Parents of young children should also take care, as should people with compromised immune systems.
So far this year, two people, both from Staten Island, are known to have come down with severe cases of West Nile-related illnesses: encephalitis, meningitis, or acute flaccid paralysis, which is severe muscle weakness associated with West Nile virus infection.
To trace the virus, mosquitoes are collected in special traps from over 90 pools citywide. While aerial spraying has been carried out in Queens and Staten Island throughout the summer, no spraying has been scheduled so far for Brooklyn.
DOH gives the following advice:
• Use repellents that contain DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535, or Picaridin and always follow label instructions.
• If outside from dusk to dawn, wear protective clothing if possible, such as loose-fitting pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks.
• Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Fix or replace screens that have tears or holes.
Reduce mosquito exposure around your home:
• Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
• Remind or help neighbors to eliminate standing water on their properties.
• Call 311 to report standing water.
For more information about West Nile virus, call 311, or go to www.nyc.gov/health