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Suffolk plans aerial, ground spraying for mosquitoes

Suffolk County Department of Public Works employees Chris

Suffolk County Department of Public Works employees Chris Kampfer, in back, and Mike Masterson, driving, spray mosquito pesticide on roads in Ocean Beach. The county is planning to conduct ground spraying today on Fire Island, weather permitting. (July 16, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

Suffolk County is planning to conduct ground spraying Tuesday on Fire Island to control the adult mosquito population, health officials said.

Ground spraying with the pesticide Anvil is planned for 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Davis Park and Point O'Woods, the health department said.

The county's public works division also plans aerial spraying of salt marshes, using methoprene, throughout the day, until 8 p.m., officials said.

"No precautions are recommended to prepare for this spraying, as the helicopter will be flying at a very low level over marsh areas and taking other precautions to control drift into inhabited areas," the health department said in a news release. "Human exposure from this operation is unlikely and the products involved have no significant human toxicity."

Besides being annoying, some mosquitoes' bites transmit West Nile virus to humans. Mosquitoes pick up the virus through feeding on infected birds.

Last year ranked as the second-worst in U.S. West Nile virus cases since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Nassau and Suffolk counties reported 14 human cases each last year, including one Nassau death. There are no official cases so far this year in the state.

The chances of experiencing health effects from ground spraying are "quite low," the health department said in a release, but children and pregnant women should avoid exposure when possible by steering clear of the area during and at least 30 minutes after spraying.

Among the "common-sense steps" the department suggests:

Close doors, windows and air-conditioning vents during and 30 minutes after spraying;

Bring indoors laundry, children's toys, pet food and water dishes;

Cover ornamental fish ponds.

Learn more at Suffolk's spraying information hotline 631-852-4939, as well as www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices.aspx

With Patricia Kitchen

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