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Nassau begins first West Nile spraying of the year

To combat West Nile virus, Nassau County will send trucks out next week to spray sections of Central and South Nassau where infected mosquitoes have been found. It will be the first time this year that the county has sprayed pesticides targeting adult mosquitoes.

So far the county has found 30 sites where mosquitoes were infected with the virus. The first infected sample was collected on June 30, the earliest such finding in Nassau since 1999, said county health department spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain.

The first infected mosquito pool on Long Island was sampled in Suffolk on June 23; Suffolk officials have already begun spraying those neighborhoods.

Friday, health officials in Suffolk said the virus had been detected in mosquitoes at 19 more sites, taking to 38 the number of sites in Suffolk to date that have now been found to contain mosquitoes carrying the virus.

In Nassau, the ground spraying will target sections of Massapequa, Merrick, Freeport, Roosevelt, Valley Stream, North Valley Stream, Elmont, Seaford, Wantagh and North Massapequa. Laurain said the county will concentrate its efforts in areas near mosquito traps where the virus was detected and where large numbers of mosquitoes were collected. The trucks will spray Scourge, a pesticide that contains resmethrin.

Weather permitting, the county plans to spray the following neighborhoods between 7 p.m. and midnight:

Aug. 3. Sections of Massapequa, Massapequa Park and North Massapequa.

Aug. 4. Sections of Merrick, North Merrick, Freeport and Roosevelt.

Aug. 5. Sections of Valley Stream, North Valley Stream, Franklin Square and Elmont.

Aug. 9. Sections of Wantagh, North Wantagh, Levittown, Seaford and North Massapequa.

Nassau health officials said Scourge is unlikely to harm residents' health, although sensitive individuals could experience breathing problems or eye, skin, nose or throat irritation. They advise people - especially pregnant women and children - to remain indoors during spraying and for about 30 minutes afterward. Other protective measures: shutting windows, keeping pets and their food indoors and covering outdoor fishponds.

For more information call the county's spray hotline at (888) 844-8657 on the days that spraying is scheduled, between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight or go to www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Health/index.html.

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