With summer comes mosquitoes, and the insects pose more danger than just itchy bumps. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced a plan to educate New Yorkers on mosquito-borne diseases.
Mosquitoes can transmit viruses like Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus, for which there are no human vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control previously reported that the number of cases of mosquito-borne (as well as flea- and tick-borne) illness more than tripled from 2004 to 2016.
"With the beginning of summer upon us, it is important to keep in mind the health risks associated with mosquito-borne diseases," Cuomo said in a statement. "This advisory serves to help New Yorkers stay informed and take the necessary precautions to keep their families safe when spending time outdoors this summer."
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As part of the effort, the health department has issued a seasonal mosquito-borne disease health advisory to all local health departments and health care providers that includes information on the symptoms of and diagnostic procedures for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus and Zika.
The Department of Health also provides this info to vets to protect pets that may contract mosquito-borne illnesses.
To monitor mosquitoes in New York, the health department will collect and identify mosquitoes weekly from traps set up in key habitats. This helps officials identify areas at risk of disease and to track trends in infections by geographic area, which will guide local decisions and mosquito control measures.
The state is also reminding New Yorkers what they can do to reduce their risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease, including covering skin as completely as possible when outside, eliminate any standing water in your yard, clean and chlorinate swimming pools and more.
New York City has also initiated a mosquito control program that includes using the insecticide larvicide to treat standing water and aerial spraying to reduce public health risks.