RYE, N.Y. (PIX11) – West Nile virus was identified in mosquitoes in Rye, the first of the year in Westchester County, health officials said Wednesday.
West Nile virus most often causes a mild or moderate flu-like illness, but it can be more serious for people 60 years and older and those with health complications. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious or fatal illness, according to the CDC.
“To protect yourself and your family when you spend time outdoors, use repellents, especially from dawn to dusk, when mosquitoes are most active,” Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler said.
Residents are also encouraged to remove any standing water from their property to help prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
“We can keep mosquitoes from breeding and biting us in our own backyards if we pour out standing water after it rains and remove or turn over wheelbarrows, flower pot drip trays and any toy pails or watering cans,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer said.
The Westchester County Health Department tests mosquitoes throughout the year to track the presence of mosquito-borne viruses. So far this year, this was the first positive batch out of the 101 mosquito batches that have been tested. Last year, West Nile virus was identified in four mosquito batches out of the 153 batches that were submitted for testing.
Three Westchester County residents were diagnosed with West Nile virus last year. West Nile virus cases occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall, according to the CDC.