The Department of Health has detected West Nile virus in Bronx mosquitoes. The infected mosquitoes were collected at Ferry Point Park, and are the first West Nile carriers detected in the city this year.
The DOH attributes 162 cases and 20 deaths to West Nile since 1999, when 62 cases of encephalitis suspected to have been caused by the West Nile virus broke out here; the city then started sending trucks around to spray neighborhoods with pesticide, leading to many complaints from people who said they got sick from the spraying.
No plans to repeat the spraying have been announced. The health commissioner counsels that you use insect repellent when outdoors and “cover your arms and legs if you’re outside at dawn or dusk,” especially if you’re over 50, because older people are more vulnerable to the illness.