Preventive Strike To Combat Disease
With summer warmth having arrived and more families enjoying the warmer weather outside, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder has encouraged the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to closely monitor mosquito breeding in effort to eliminate any potential threats, such as West Nile or other mosquito-borne infections in the Sandy-damaged neighborhoods of southern Queens and Rockaway.
“Southern Queens and Rockaway has always been a known breeding ground for mosquitoes, but after Sandy, leftover debris and abandoned lots have created the perfect habitat for larvicide to grow,” said Goldfeder. “I strongly urge the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to work with all the necessary city agencies to ensure mosquito breeding is controlled this summer and help residents in their recovery efforts.”
Areas of standing water, road construction, clogged sewers, catch basins and obstructed waterways has created a welcoming atmosphere for mosquitoes throughout southern Queens and Rockaway due to the destruction left by Hurricane Sandy. More resources are needed to monitor and trap larvacide to control the number of adult mosquitoes that could breed and carry infections that will potentially harm residents while rebuilding their homes and businesses, noted Goldfeder.
“Increased attention to mosquito control in the Sandy-impacted area, especially to potential breeding spots like catch basins that have yet to be fully cleaned of debris will be much needed this year and much appreciated,” said Betty Bratton, chairperson of Community Board 10.
In his letter to DOHMH, Goldfeder urged the agency to work with DEP and continue the use of mosquito magnet traps which survey and control adult mosquitoes at wastewater treatment plants in Rockaway, as well as work with the Department of Sanitation to enforce lot cleaning.
Since 1999, 111 cases of the West Nile Virus have been reported by residents- twice as high as any other borough throughout the city. In addition to West Nile, two other mosquito borne infections have been found in recent years. One includes dengue fever, which is detected every year, but deemed to be acquired outside of the city. However last year, the city reported 88 infected cases.
“In 2012, prior to Sandy, we saw the largest outbreak in mosquitoborne infections in years,” said Goldfeder. “Let’s not wait until it’s too late this year and take action to control the mosquito breeding before it starts.”