The NYC Department of Health will begin spraying for mosquitos in large swaths of the Bronx Tuesday evening, as the latest data confirms 21 cases of West Nile virus across the five boroughs.
The health department released its latest data sets on Sept. 21, reporting that nearly two dozens city residents had contracted the virus, including seven from Queens, four each from Manhattan and Staten Island, three from Brooklyn and one from the Bronx.
The first cases were reported on Aug. 23, when the health department announced that three people in the city were diagnosed and had been hospitalized.
The next update of West Nile data is scheduled to be released on Sept. 28, a health department spokesperson told the Bronx Times.
“We are working to prevent West Nile virus as much as possible through public education, treating marshy areas and spraying for mosquitoes,” said city Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “As New Yorkers, we can take some simple precautions to lower our risk. For example, use an EPA registered insect repellent, especially when outside at dusk and dawn when the types of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus 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.”
On Tuesday, trucks will spray pesticides throughout the Bronx beginning at 8:30 p.m. until the following morning, at approximately 6 a.m. In case of bad weather, spraying will be delayed until Wednesday, Sept. 27.
This latest spray follows two sprayings this summer with the last one coming in July in and around the Pelham Bay Park area — the largest public park in NYC.
Infected mosquitoes can spread West Nile to people through a bite.
This round of spraying will be much more expansive though to include parts of Charlotte Gardens, Claremont Village, Concourse Village, Crotona Park East, Forest Houses, Hunts Point, Longwood, Melrose, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Port Morris, South Bronx and William McKinley Houses as well as parts of Fieldston, Kingsbridge, North Riverdale, Norwood, Riverdale, Van Cortlandt Village and Woodlawn Heights.
Very low concentrations of Anvil 10+10, Duet or MERUS 3 will be used, according to the health department.
Mosquitoes infected with West Nile are typically present in the city from May through October, with peak activity during August and September. And a health department spokesperson confirmed that the department was winding down sprayings for the calendar year.
The most effective way to control mosquitoes is by eliminating standing water, according to health department officials. As of Sept. 21, there have been a total of 1,123 positive mosquito pools across the five boroughs, including 134 in the Bronx. Once trapped, a large number of mosquitoes are then tested in a single pooled sample or “pool,” according to health department data.
In the U.S., a total of 247 cases of West Nile virus with 13 deaths have been reported this year, according to the health department.
Although health department officials say the risks of pesticides applied for mosquito control are low to people and pets, some people who are sensitive may experience short-term eye or throat irritation. People with respiratory conditions may also be affected. Health officials recommend staying indoors during spraying.
Reach Christian Falcone at [email protected] or (718) 260-2541. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes