NYC will spray pesticide to kill rising number of West Nile-infected mosquitoes

New York City will begin spraying pesticide to kill West Nile virus-infected mosquitos in Brooklyn and Queens on Thursday. 

According to a notice from New York City’s Department of Health, there has been a recent rise in the number of mosquitoes carrying the life-threatening disease. 

So far, no human cases have been reported in the state, but a number of birds, pets and other animals have contracted West Nile after being bitten by a mosquito, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health department. 

The city will spray low-grade pesticide from trucks roving several neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens between 8:30pm Thursday evening and 6:00am Friday morning. 

Trucks like this one, pictured in Florida, will spray pesticide to kill off the growing number of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes in Brooklyn and Queens this week (file)

Trucks like this one, pictured in Florida, will spray pesticide to kill off the growing number of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes in Brooklyn and Queens this week (file) 

In Brooklyn, spray trucks will be deployed in: parts of Borough Park, Gowanus, Greenwood Heights, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Windsor Terrace.

Pesticide will be sprayed in parts of the  Corona, Flushing, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Queensboro Hill, and Rego Park neighborhoods of Queens, weather permitting. 

Trucks will spraying a diluted solution of Anvil or DeltaGard, pesticides that kill adult mosquitoes via sumithrin and deltamethrin, respectively. 

Both chemicals are used to kill mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and, occasionally, head lice that affect humans. 

They are not thought to be particularly dangerous to humans, but some people are more sensitive to the chemicals than others. 

Health department officials advise people in the target neighborhoods to stay indoors in order to avoid rashes, eye and nose irritation and exacerbation of respiratory issues like asthma.  

New York was among the first states to be hit by West Nile virus when it was introduced to the US in 1999. 

That year, 59 people in the New York area were hospitalized for encephalitis – dangerous brain swelling – West Nile virus, and seven died. 

On the wings of countless mosquitoes, the virus swiftly spread across the lower 48 states of the US. 

The disease becomes more active when the bugs do – in the summer, peaking in August and September.  

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus first came to the US in 1999, and New York City suffered one of the nation's first major outbreaks (file)

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus first came to the US in 1999, and New York City suffered one of the nation’s first major outbreaks (file) 

So far, no human cases have been reported, but the CDC has detected a growing number of mosquitoes and animals infected with West Nile virus in King's County (Brooklyn) and Queens

So far, no human cases have been reported, but the CDC has detected a growing number of mosquitoes and animals infected with West Nile virus in King’s County (Brooklyn) and Queens 

Most people who contract the virus don’t even know it. They might simply feel a little under the weather for a few days, recover, and move on with their lives none the wiser. Or they might never feel sick at all. 

About one in five get mildly ill with a fever. 

But for the rare few – about one in 150, according to the CDC – who are harder hit by the virus, it can be quite dangerous, even deadly. 

In these cases, the infection first triggers a high fever, headache and neck stiffness. 

The involvement of the head and neck are worrying signs that the virus has become ‘neuro-invasive,’ meaning it is attacking the brain and/or spinal cord. 

As a result, people may become disoriented, fall into a stupor or coma and suffer convulsions, tremors or seizures.  

Swelling from the virus’s attacks on the brain and spinal cord can damage people’s vision and nerves, even leaving them paralyzed. 

In rare instances, the infection becomes too much for the nervous system to handle, killing about on in 10 of those who become severely ill from West Nile. 

Since the virus arrived in the US, about 2,300 people have died. 

This year alone, there have been 63 cases in the US – 26 of which were in California, 9 were in Florida and seven in Texas. Two people have died of the virus this year. 

New York City health officials did quantify the increase of West Nile activity found in Queens and Brooklyn, but aim to kill off the infected mosquito population – and in turn their chances of infecting New Yorkers – with this week’s pesticide spray. 

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