They’re back! Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus, that is, and they’re out for blood.
The Department of Health announced Monday that the West Nile Virus was detected in the city for the first time this season, showing up in mosquitoes in Pomonok and Huguenot Beach.
Though there have been no reported human cases yet, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley is urging New Yorkers to take precautions to prevent contracting the disease.
“Be sure to wear mosquito repellent when outdoors, and cover your arms and legs if you’re outside at dawn or dusk. New Yorkers over 50 should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus,” Farley said in a press release.
Other precautions to reduce exposure include putting screens on windows, disposing of containers that collect water, and regularly cleaning swimming pools and roof gutters.
In an effort to heighten mosquito surveillance, the health department is setting up additional traps and treating catch basins in the affected areas by applying larvicide to the basins, marshlands and areas with standing water.
In 2012, New York City saw 312 cases of the virus in mosquito pools, with over 40 human cases. Human symptoms of infection include fever, headache and fatigue. If left untreated, the virus can cause neurological diseases.