An elderly resident of in the Village of Mamaroneck has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus and is currently in a coma, said the village's mayor, Norm Rosenblum.
The man's family—who asked that his name and address not be released to the public—contacted Rosenblum to notify him that the man had been diagnosed about a week and a half ago while visiting friends in Canada.
The Westchester County Department of Health conducted a local environmental assessment of the area around the man’s home today for signs of mosquito breeding activity nearby, but none were found.
“Despite a surge in West Nile Virus activity nationwide, so far mosquito activity in Westchester is on par with last year,’’ said Sherlita Amler, MD, commissioner of health. “The county health department larvicided more than 40,000 street catch basins this year to prevent mosquitoes from developing and we continue to monitor mosquito activity. It is also important to walk around your property after it rains and remove standing water and to use appropriate insect repellents when you spend time outdoors.’’
So far this year, 27 positive mosquito batches were identified in Westchester, starting in late July. Last year, 32 positive mosquito batches were found in the county, with the first batch identified in early August, and three human cases of West Nile virus were reported. There were no deaths.
According to the Department of Health website, a total of 25 batches of mosquitos tested positive for West Nile Virus since June, 10 of them from Mamaroneck. According to the Department, only 31 people have been diagnosed with West Nile in the past 12 years—there was one death as a result.
Since 2001, the Department has monitored for mosquitos by setting up traps throughout the county from May to October; trapped mosquitos are sorted and tested three times per week, according to their website. There are three trap sites in Larchmont and Mamaroneck, seven in Rye and four in New Rochelle.
The Department of Health has the following tips on their website for mosquito prevention:
- Remove from around your home and neighborhood anything that might hold standing water. For example: old tires, buckets and wheelbarrows.
- Report any standing water that you cannot remove by calling (914) 813-5000.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus can range from no symptoms to fever, aching muscles and headaches. People over 65 and those with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk of serious complications from West Nile, including encephalitis, meningitis and acute flaccid paralysis, according to the New York City Department of health website. Symptoms of complications include headache, high fever, stiff neck, confusion and coma, among others.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offer a more comprehensive list of preventative measures one can take to prevent mosquito bites:
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Generally, the the more active ingredient a repellent contains the longer it can protect you from mosquito bites. A higher percentage of active ingredient in a repellent does not mean that your protection is better—just that it will last longer. Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors.
- Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.
- Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed skin. Do not apply repellent to skin under your clothing.
- When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
- Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors with infants.
- Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
- Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
- Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors where you work or play, by draining sources of standing water. In this way, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.
- At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
- Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
- Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
- Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home. Note: Vitamin B and "ultrasonic" devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites.