The Zika virus has made it to Westchester, as the county’s first case has been confirmed—the infected man had traveled outside of the United States, where he contracted the virus, but has fully recovered, according to the Westchester County Department of Health—bringing the Hudson Valley total to four.
As the weather gets warmer and mosquitoes start to become more the rule than the exception, there are precautions that should be taken to remain safe.
The most obvious way to avoid Zika is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. According to the CDC, among other preventative measures, people should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. They should also apply Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.
To keep mosquitoes at bay on your property, “you should remove any standing water from your property, as it is a breeding ground for mosquitos,” says Steve Farrelly, owner of Scarsdale-based Emerald Tree and Shrub Care Company. Standing water, he says, “can be found in gutters, old tires, garbage cans, and anywhere with poor drainage.”
It is also important to keep trees and the shrubs trimmed. This will help to improve air circulation on their property, a process that will “physically push mosquitos out of that area and remove the environment they thrive in,” says Farrelly.
The Westchester County Department of Health offers a wealth of information on Zika and how to prevent it. Visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/zika_virus/ or call the department’s information line at (888) 364-4723 for more information.