Mosquitoes carrying a potentially deadly virus were confirmed in the Lower Hudson Valley.

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On Monday, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announced that the first pool, or group, of mosquitoes to test positive this year in Rockland County for West Nile Virus (WNV), has been confirmed by the New York State Department of Health.

The infected mosquitoes were collected from a trap in the Town of Orangetown during the week of August 3 as part of the County's ongoing mosquito surveillance efforts. No human cases have been reported this season.

"We typically expect to see a rise in West Nile Virus activity during the summer months, and this positive mosquito pool confirms that," Ruppert said.

A bite from a West Nile Virus infected mosquito can cause serious illness, and in some cases, death, officials say. Although a person's chances of getting sick are small, those aged 50 and older are at the highest risk for serious illness. Not everyone infected with West Nile Virus will become ill. However, West Nile can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder flu-like illness, including fever, headache and body aches, nausea, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile Virus, see your doctor right away.

Rockland County officials released the following guidance to reduce mosquitoes around your home and yard:

  • Check your property for ANY items that can hold water. Get rid of the items or empty the water out and scrub the inside of the item at least once a week.
  • Drill drain holes in the bottoms of recycling containers, turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use, and remove all discarded tires.
  • If you have a swimming pool or spa that is not in use, drain the water off the cover or treat the standing water with Mosquito Dunks®, and post accordingly. The Rockland County Department of Health (RCDOH) provides homeowners with Mosquito Dunks® for their private swimming pools, via curbside pick-up. Giveaway events will take place for One (1) hour, One (1) day per week, alternating Every Other Tuesday & Friday, through October 2020while supplies last. For more information and to see the schedule of remaining giveaway dates, visit https://bit.ly/30Uf6xC.
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitoes rest. Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.
  • If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Make sure that roof gutters drain properly, clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds, and remove leaf debris from yards and gardens.

To reduce your risk of being bitten, take the following steps:

  • Cover-up as completely as possible. Wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are more active.
  • Use mosquito repellent, which should always be applied according to label directions. Do not use repellent on babies younger than two months old. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children younger than three years old.
  • Cover baby carriers with mosquito netting when outside.
  • Stay indoors when mosquitoes are more active.
  • Close doors and make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that the screens do not have rips, tears, or holes.