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City to Combat West Nile by Spraying in Upper West Side Friday

By Emily Frost | August 29, 2012 5:16pm
Pesticide Spraying is planned on the Upper West Side on Friday, August 31st.
Pesticide Spraying is planned on the Upper West Side on Friday, August 31st.
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Department of Health

UPPER WEST SIDE — The city plans to spray large swaths of the Upper West Side with pesticide early Friday morning to combat West Nile virus, and is urging people to stay indoors during the spraying.

The spraying is part of the Department of Health's initiative to combat West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne seasonal epidemic whose side effects range from short fevers to permanent neurological damage, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a statement issued by the department, parts of Central Park, Clinton, Lincoln Square, Manhattan Valley and the Upper West Side, "are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high and/or increasing mosquito populations."

The Health Department located mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus on Staten Island in July, and has found 119 mosquito pools testing positive for West Nile virus on the island in 2012. Just four have been identified in Manhattan. 
So far this year, eight cases of West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease, the most serious version of the virus, have occurred in New York City, with four of them originating in Manhattan. 

The virus is expected to peak in late August, with cases up 40 percent since last week, according to the CDC. 

The Health Department instructs people to stay inside during the 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. spraying of the synthetic pesticide, Anvil®, 10 + 10, which it said poses a low risk to humans.

Despite the low risk, the department advises that people with asthma be particularly careful and to "remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying."

"If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again."

The department said it plans community outreach to inform the public of the spraying.

"We work with local constituents, electeds. We do public awareness, press releases," said the spokeswoman. 

Mosquitos have been a problem on the Upper West Side, particularly in the West 80s between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive, for years. Some residents said they have to sleep with mosquito nets over their beds. Dina Fonseca, of the Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University, said these common house mosquitos are capable of carrying West Nile virus.