The Westchester County Health Department found mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus in four towns on Tuesday, Aug. 25 during routine sampling efforts. 

With heavy rains looming on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 26, officials warn residents to use insect repellant with over 30 percent DEET to prevent mosquito bites, and to do what they can to prevent pools of standing water, where mosquitoes breed, on their properties. 

This includes removing or turning any objects that may hold water from backyards, checking children’s playground equipment and toys for standing water, drilling holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are left outdoors, emptying bird baths twice weekly, discarding any unused tires and keeping gutters free of debris. 

Meanwhile, the Health Department will treat catch basins in the county to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in them. 

“We can make our backyards less inviting breeding grounds for mosquitoes by pouring outstanding water after it rains and we can make ourselves less tempting targets by using repellents,” said Westchester County Executive Georgia Latimer in a Wednesday, Aug. 26 press release.

These are the first mosquitoes that have tested positive for the virus of 166 batches of mosquitoes in 11 Westchester County locations. 

Infected mosquitoes were found in Elmsford, Hastings, Mount Vernon and Rye. 

Last year, 10 of 243 batches of mosquitoes tested for the virus were infected with West Nile. 

“With so many of us spending more time outdoors, protect yourself and your family by using repellents. Apply sunscreen first, and repellent second,” said Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler in the county’s press release.

New York City announced earlier this month that mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus were detected in each of the five boroughs. 

Thus far, no cases of West Nile Virus have been recorded within Westchester County this year. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches and joint pain; the virus can be especially devastating for those over 60, or with underlying health conditions. 

Residents who notice large areas of standing water on public property are asked to contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000.

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