Tips to Safeguard Against West Nile
First West Nile Virus-Positive Mosquito in 2011
Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) was informed by the Nassau County Department of Health that the Department’s staff has isolated the County’s first incidence of West Nile virus (WNV) from a mosquito. The virus was identified in a sample of Culex pipiens-restuans mosquitoes, collected on July 8 in West Hempstead. The test results were confirmed on July 18 by the New York State Department of Health. To date, no humans have tested positive for West Nile virus in Nassau County.
Legislator Bosworth said, “The Nassau County Departments of Health and Public Works will continue their mosquito control efforts by inspecting breeding sites and, when necessary, applying larvicide. It is important for all residents to take the proper safety precautions to protect against the West Nile Virus. The goal is to work together to obviate the need to spray. If there is a need to spray, every effort will be made to ensure that isolated targeted areas are treated with truck spraying as opposed to aerial spraying. If aerial or truck spraying is necessary to ensure the safety of Nassau County residents, legislators are now required by law to receive advance notification, allowing us to be prepared adequately to address constituent concerns. The Health Department also will post data on their website about the pesticide being applied so residents will have access to the same information given to the county employees who actually apply the pesticide.”
In 2009, upon Legislator Bosworth’s initiative, the Nassau County Legislature amended the law to require the Health Department to provide 24 hours’ notice to legislators and major news outlets, notice on the Health Department website, and 24 hours’ notice for any rescheduled spraying of pesticides in the event that a public health threat necessitates spraying. The law also requires the establishment of a Mosquito Spraying Hotline. Legislative offices will now be notified as soon as the County Health Department requests that the state declare a public health threat to allow them time to prepare to help with constituent notification. The primary carrier of WNV in Nassau County is Culex pipiens-restuans, or “the house mosquito” which does not fly more than 200 feet from its breeding site.
Residents are being urged by the Nassau County Health Department to take the following precautions for safety and protection:
• Remove or empty standing water from children’s outdoor toys, flower pots, garbage cans, pails, or any object that can hold water.
• Make sure roof gutters drain properly; clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
• Keep swimming pools chlorinated and their covers free of stagnant water.
• Change the water in birdbaths every two or three days.
• Install window and door screens and keep them in good repair.
• Consider wearing long sleeves, pants, socks and mosquito repellent (according to directions) if outdoors when mosquitoes are active, especially in the late afternoon and evening hours.
• Decorative ponds and water features should be circulated or chlorinated if they do not contain fish to prevent mosquito breeding.
To report mosquito, stagnant water, or drainage problems, call the Nassau County Department of Public Works at: (516) 571-6900. For additional information on West Nile virus activity, contact Nassau County Department of Health at: (516) 572-1211, weekdays from 7:45 am to 3:30 pm. Additional West Nile virus information may be found on the Nassau County Department of Health website at http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Health/westnile.html