Westchester rolls out Zika plan


Astorino, left, and Assistant Health Commissioner for Environmental
Health Peter DeLucia
demonstrate ways to avoid potential Zika-carrying mosquitoes

VALHALLA – Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino on Thursday
announced the county’s plan to protect residents from the potential
of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Astorino said there have been no locally acquired cases of Zika in Westchester
but he wanted to assure residents that the county is “working diligently”
to address the virus.

Among the plans are to give residents free minnows to eat mosquito larvae
in their backyard ponds and water features; applying larvacide to catch
basins on county and municipal roads; doubling the number of mosquito
trap sites and adding a new type of trap to attract the mosquitoes that
could transmit Zika; and targeting areas for ground spraying should a
locally acquired case by confirmed or nearby mosquitoes test positive
for the virus.

County Health Commissioner Dr. Shelita Amler said the best way for pregnant
women to avoid exposure and the danger to their developing fetus is to
avoid travel to areas where Zika is present. She also suggested the moms-to-be
should use EPA-registered insect repellents when outdoors, and to follow
the label instructions. They should also cover exposed skin by wearing
long-sleeve shirts, long pants and socks, and not to sleep with windows
open unless they have screens.

The health department is giving away the free minnows and larvacide tablets
for birdbaths, planter drip traps, rain barrels and unused pools from
now through Saturday. Weekend hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Building 2 in Westchester County Airport on
Loop Road.

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