With concerns growing about the spread of the Zika virus and the devastating birth defects it may cause, the Health Department will again spread marshy areas of Queens this week to reduce the mosquito population.
Larvicide will be applied by a low-flying helicopter during overnight hours on July 26-28 as part of the Health Department’s program to control the mosquito population. It’s the fifth time since May that such spraying will be conducted citywide.
The spraying aims to reduce the possible transmission of Zika, West Nile and other mosquito-borne viruses from the pests to humans.
The spraying occurs just days after the Health Department announced the first New York City birth of a baby with microcephaly, a birth defect marked by child’s abnormally small brain and skull, which has been connected to women who were infected with Zika during their pregnancy.
According to the Health Department, the mother of the child born with microcephaly became infected while traveling to a region where the Zika virus is prevalent.
“I remind all pregnant women in New York City, and those trying to get pregnant, that they should delay travel to places where there is active Zika transmission,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said on July 22.
A mosquito breeding ground is any warm weather place where there is still water standing for more than four days.
The department recommends that New Yorkers “mosquito-proof” their home by eliminating any standing water.