Senator Brian X. Foley released the following statement today, giving residents information on how to protect their families from West Nile Virus:
“Last week Nassau County identified fifteen new sites where mosquitoes were infected with West Nile Virus, while here in Suffolk County fourteen sites have been identified.
“Since its first appearance in New York in 1999 over 250 cases of West Nile Virus have been found in New Yorkers and 26 deaths have been reported. The virus infects birds and is spread to humans through mosquitoes that feed on both species. While contracting West Nile Virus is rare, it is extremely serious, especially for people over 50 years old.
“The New York State Department of Health has some simple steps you can take to lower your risk and protect your family:
• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.
• Dispose of used tires. Used tires are a significant mosquito breeding site. Call your local landfill or Department of Public Works to find out how to dispose of them properly.
• Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
• Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
• Remove leaf debris from yards and gardens.
• Turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
• Change the water in birdbaths twice weekly.
• Clean vegetation and debris from edges of ponds.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
• Drain water from pool covers.
• Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
• Do NOT touch dead birds. Report them to the Suffolk County Public Health Hotline at (631) 787-2200
• Avoid mosquito breeding areas during peak periods of activity, which are usually from sunset to sunrise.
• Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors during these times, especially if mosquitoes are present.
“Together I know we can protect our friends, family and neighbors from this dangerous virus.”