New York City Launches Zika Website

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The Health Department of New York launched a new, map-based website designed to give New Yorkers a look into the City’s sophisticated mosquito surveillance and control operation.

According to a press release, the new site, which will be updated weekly, offers the most up-to-date information about mosquito surveillance and control activities across the five boroughs, including recent mosquito control events by neighborhood.

The website was developed as the agency implements a comprehensive three year, $21 million plan to combat the spread of Zika in New York City. This is the first time the City has made mosquito surveillance information available in this format.

This interactive map will give New Yorkers information about our mosquito surveillance and control activities as it happens in their communities,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.  “Every day, members of our mosquito control team are collecting surveillance traps, investigating complaints of standing water, and using our tools to reduce the mosquito population.”

With this new online tool, New Yorkers can check to see how recently their neighborhood was treated with either aerial, backpack or catch-basin larviciding (which targets young mosquito larvae that grow in standing water), or with adulticiding (truck-spraying of adult, flying mosquitoes). The site also shows points around the city where standing water violations were recently issued. The maps and information will be updated weekly to reflect data captured from the prior week.

New York City has over 15 years of experience successfully trapping, testing and controlling mosquito populations and keeping New Yorkers safe from mosquito-borne diseases, the press release notes. Throughout the early spring and summer, the Health Department conducts regular mosquito surveillance.

The Health Department has 120 surveillance traps in the five boroughs, including 60 permanent traps for the mosquito Aedes albopictus, which can possibly carry the Zika virus, and which the agency started trapping and testing for the first time this year.  The number of mosquitoes in a trap tells the Department the density of the mosquito population within a given area. Inspectors bring trapped mosquitoes back to the Public Health Lab to identify the different mosquito types and to test for West Nile and Zika viruses. This summer, there have been no human cases of West Nile virus, and the Zika virus has not been found in any mosquitoes in New York City.

As the press release highlights, the Health Department’s mosquito control efforts are data driven and rely on our mosquito trapping and testing results to determine areas of the city to spray pesticide and larvicide. The city has already conducted twice as many mosquito control treatments this season compared to this time last year to reduce mosquito activity in areas identified by our surveillance. Neighborhoods are treated by helicopter, truck or backpacks if sufficient criteria are met – this includes high populations of Aedes albopictus, and positive cases of West Nile virus, which are transmitted by the Culex pipiens mosquito. To date, the agency has conducted six larvaciding and five adulticiding sprayings events in parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan and Queens.

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