State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah urged all New Yorkers to be cautious of mosquito bites after detecting mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus and Easter Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in various regions of the state.
Although the mosquitoes could be found across the state, people living in Long Island and in New York City are at highest risk and should especially take extra precautions.
According to the department of health, both diseases can cause serious illness or death and have already claimed one victim, a 4-year-old child from Oswego County who died of EEE on Sunday.
"Mosquito bites should not be seen as harmless, and all New Yorkers should take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites over the remainder of the summer and through the fall," said the commissioner.
Although there have been no cases of West Nile virus confirmed in the state so far this year, the State Department of Health stated it had found 23 mosquito pools testing positive for the virus across the state, including Erie, Onondaga, Rockland, Orange, Westchester and Nassau and Suffolk counties. New York City has reported 80 mosquito pools that have tested positive for West Nile virus.
The State Department has advised New Yorkers to take the following measures to help reduce the threat and help "fight the bite," which is the name of the campaign.
- Dispose of used tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers in which water collects.
- Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoor. Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use, and change the water in bird baths twice a week.
- Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
- Drain water from pool covers.