By Connor Adams Sheets
The city Department of Health had not decided by Tuesday afternoon whether or not it needed to spray for mosquitoes in Jamaica Estates and the Pomonok Houses.
The decision is contingent on the results it gets from a number of traps in the surrounding area, which will let them know whether West Nile is present in those areas.
The city added two new traps in the Jamaica Estates area last week in response to City Councilman James Gennaro’s (D-Fresh Meadows) concerns about spraying for the pests.
David Troise, chief of staff for Gennaro, said Tuesday that he was still waiting to hear whether the city will be spraying there.
“Not yet, I think it will be contingent on the data from the supplemental traps,” Troise said. “I sent the Health Department an e-mail this morning and I’m just waiting to hear back from them,”
The two areas were identified as having mosquitoes infested with the West Nile virus two weeks ago, but the city announced Aug. 3 that later that evening it would be spraying areas near those locations, but not in the two neighborhoods, prompting Gennaro and state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) to get involved.
Gennaro contacted city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley Aug. 3 and determined that the city, which originally said it found the West Nile virus in Asian Tiger mosquitoes in Jamaica Estates and the Pomonok housing complex in Fresh Meadows, actually had found them in Cunningham Park and near Kissena Park.
As such, the city planned instead to spray those areas, not the Pomonok and Jamaica Estates locations, where it has since set traps to determine whether the virus had spread that far. Those results will be ready this week and will determine whether or not the city sprays in those neighborhoods.
“They put out these testing stations throughout the city and this one happened to be in Cunningham Park and they got a positive hit on that for West Nile, and based on that they were going to spray in the immediate area. But what they also do when that happens, is once you get a hit on one, you take that opportunity and say, ‘OK, we’ve got a little bit of a hot-spot here.’ Then they put more stations around to figure out the dimensions of the thing and if they have to spray in other areas,” Gennaro said last week.
Gennaro and Weprin held a rally in Jamaica Estates two weeks ago to call on the department to protect residents from the disease by spraying there and at Pomonok.
The city advises that people in areas that are sprayed with pesticide should avoid being outdoors as much as possible; remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from outside areas; wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticide with soap and water; and call the city Poison Control Center at 212-764-7667 if they experience an adverse reaction to the pesticide.
Call 311 for more information about sprayings.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.