Break out the bug spray, the West Nile virus has been found in New York City mosquitoes.
The New York City Health Department announced Friday that they detected the virus in mosquitoes collected from four locations in Old Town, Staten Island, East Williamsburg/Bushwick in Brooklyn and the South Jamaica/Rochdale Village and Auburndale/Pomonok in Queens.
The department states that no human cases have been detected so far and that it has stepped up mosquito surveillance and mosquito larvae control efforts in the affected areas.
“West Nile Virus has returned to New York City, but simple precautions can help protect you and your family,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner.
West Nile virus is known to cause encephalitis, a serious inflammation of the brain or spinal cord. More moderate symptoms can cause flu-like illness with headache, fever and fatigue.
The department also noted that people over 50 should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus.
The Health Department listed some tips to stay mosquito-free:
-Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under 3), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
-Make sure windows have screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
-Eliminate any standing water from your property since it provides are breeding sites for mosquitoes, and dispose of containers that can collect water.
-Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
-Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered when not in use, and drain water that collects in pool covers.
Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code. You can report standing water or get more information about West Nile virus by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/health/wnv.
If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, see your doctor right away.