A mosquito-spread virus with a potentially paralyzing symptom was found in the Hudson Valley.

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Over the weekend, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announce the first two pools, or groups, of mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile Virus this year in Rockland County has been confirmed by the New York State Department of Health.

The infected mosquitoes were collected from traps in the Town of Orangetown and Town of Clarkstown during the week of June 21st as part of the County's ongoing mosquito surveillance efforts. No human cases have been reported this season. The last human case reported in Rockland was in 2018.

"This is typically the time of the year we expect to see a rise in West Nile Virus activity, and these positive mosquito pools confirm that," Ruppert said.

Most mosquitoes do not test positive for disease-causing viruses. However, a bite from a West Nile Virus-infected mosquito can cause serious illness, and in some cases, death, officials say.

Although a person's chances of getting sick are small, those aged 50 and older are at the highest risk for serious illness. Not everyone infected with West Nile Virus will become ill. However, West Nile can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness, including fever, headache and body aches, nausea, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile Virus, see your doctor right away.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus usually occurs three to 14 days after being bitten. Symptoms include high fever, headache, confusion, muscle aches, weakness, seizures or in severe cases paralysis.

The best and most effective mosquito control begins in your yard. Eliminating standing water is the first step in reducing mosquito breeding:

  • Check your property for ANY items that can hold water. Anything you choose to keep outside, such as kids' toys, buckets, wading pools, canoes, and wheelbarrows, should be flipped over when not used to prevent them from collecting any water.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers and remove all discarded tires.
  • If you have a swimming pool or spa that is not in use, drain the water off the cover or treat the standing water with Mosquito Dunks®, and post accordingly. The dunks are available free of charge at the Health Department, Building D, 50 Sanatorium Road in Pomona, Monday - Friday by appointment only, while supplies last. Call 845-364-3173 or e-mail wnv@co.rockland.ny.us to arrange a pickup.
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitoes rest. Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.
  • If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Make sure that roof gutters drain properly, clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds, and remove leaf debris from yards and gardens.

To reduce your risk of being bitten, take the following steps:

  • Cover-up as completely as possible. Wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are more active.
  • Use mosquito repellent, which should always be applied according to label directions. Do not use repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children younger than 3 years old.
  • Cover baby carriers with mosquito netting when outside.
  • Stay indoors when mosquitoes are more active.
  • Close doors and make sure all windows and doors have screens and that the screens do not have rips, tears, or holes.

 

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