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Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Mosquito spraying season is underway in Queens.

With the threat of the Zika virus still looming, the NYC Health Department is continuing its efforts to reduce the risk of Zika and West Nile virus with scheduled sprayings for Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and other areas of Queens and Brooklyn this week.

On Wednesday, Aug. 31 between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following morning, the NYC Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks in order to help reduce mosquito activity in the areas as part of its three-year, $21 million plan to protect the city from the Zika virus.

According to the Health Department, the areas set to be sprayed include: Briarwood, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Forest Hills Gardens, Glendale, Jamaica, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hill, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, and Ridgewood.

The spray zone is bounded by Queens Boulevard and Grand Central Parkway to the north; Flushing Avenue and the Long Island Expressway to the west; the Long Island Railroad, 73rd Place, Myrtle Avenue and Jamaica Avenue to the south; and 150th Street to the east.

Map courtesy NYC Health Department

Map courtesy NYC Health Department

Although no trace of the Zika virus has been found in any mosquito in New York City, the Health Department is spraying these areas due to a significant presence of Aedes albopictus, also known as Asian tiger mosquitoes, in traps set by the department. The Aedes albopictus mosquito does have the ability to carry the Zika virus.

“While we do not expect to find Zika in New York City’s mosquitoes, we are taking no chances. We are moving forward with a safe but aggressive plan to spray pesticide when we find significant numbers of mosquitoes that could possibly carry Zika,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, health commissioner. “New Yorkers should continue to enjoy outdoor activities this summer while taking the usual precautions against mosquitoes, including wearing repellant and reporting standing water to 311.”

The neighborhoods have also met sufficient criteria for the spraying of adulticide due to an increase in West Nile virus activity and high numbers of Culex mosquitoes which have been known to transmit West Nile virus in New York City since 1999.

For the spraying, the Health Department will use very low concentrations of two pesticides, DUET and Anvil 10+10. When properly used, these pesticides pose no significant risks to human health, but the Health Department advises residents in the area to stay indoors while the spraying is taking place.

During the spraying residents are advised to keep their windows closed; they may continue to use air conditioners, but with the vents closed. Anything left outside during spraying should be thoroughly washed with soap and water before reuse. If you are outside during spraying and become exposed to the pesticide, wash all skin and clothing.

For more information, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/health.

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