Dutchess County Department Of Health
Archived West Nile Virus News Release
For More Information:Michael C. Caldwell, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Health
April 16, 2001
West Nile Virus: "Fight the Bite!"
In the of 1999, West Nile Virus a mosquito borne infection that can cause encephalitis, was found in New York State. While the chances of a person getting encephalitis are small, West Nile virus continues to require our attention as warmer weather approaches. Individuals age 50 and older are at highest risk. The Dutchess County Department of Health wants you to have the information you need reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard and home.
Mosquitoes are small flying insects that feed on human and animal blood or plant juices. Only female mosquitoes bite to get a blood meal for their growing eggs. " Mosquitoes are generally considered a nuisance pest, but occasionally can transmit disease," said Michael C. Caldwell, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Health. " There are about 65 different species of mosquitoes in New York State, yet only a handful of them can transmit West Nile virus," he added.
Many mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus lay their eggs stagnant water around the home. Weeds, tall grass and shrubbery provide an outdoor home for adult mosquitoes, which may also enter houses through unscreened windows or doors, or broken screens," noted Dr. Caldwell.
Mosquitoes are often active between dusk and dawn when the air is calm, and that is when the females are most likely to bite. Some species will bite during the daytime.
Mosquitoes can develop in any stagnant water that lasts more than four days. To reduce the mosquito population around your home and property, Dr. Caldwell advises you to reduce or eliminate all stagnant water:
Most mosquitoes do not transmit disease. "Although it is not necessary to limit any outdoor activities, unless there is evidence of mosquito-borne disease, you can help reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes," stated Michael C. Caldwell, MD, MPH. In addition to reducing stagnant water in your yard, make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair. If West Nile virus is found in your area:
For more information about mosquitoes, West Nile virus encephalitis and insect repellents, contact the Dutchess County Health Dept. or write: Fight the Bite, Box 2000, Albany NY 12220.