ROCKLAND, COUNTY, N.Y. – Rockland County Executive Ed Day urged property owners to take special care during the coming warm weather to remove potential places where mosquitoes can breed to prevent spread of Zika virus and other diseases.
Day and Rockland Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert delivered an update about mosquito control and the Zika virus as they toured an abandoned home in Chestnut Ridge with debris in the yard to demonstrate all the places where mosquitoes can breed.
Day also announced that the state Department of Health is providing Rockland with 23 traps designed to capture Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which can transmit Zika, so they can be tested.
"We are prepared for whatever happens this summer," Day said.
Rockland has been aggressive about mosquito control since 1999 when West Nile virus was first found in the area.
“The stakes are even higher this year," Day said, noting that the mosquito-borne Zika virus has become a worldwide public health concern.
Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are found in Rockland County and six other counties in New York.
"We will be placing special traps designed to capture this mosquito at sites throughout Rockland, alongside the mosquito traps we have used for years to track the West Nile virus," Day said. "We are doing our part to make Rockland County as inhospitable to mosquitoes as we can."
But the county cannot do it alone, he added.
"We are appealing to every Rockland resident to take a walk around their home. Do you see an empty flower pot? What about a wheelbarrow or an old tire? Even an empty soda can or bottle cap?" he asked. "These are all places water can collect. And wherever you see standing water, you can get mosquito breeding."
He urged residents to remove places where water can collect from their property.
"Get rid of the old tires, throw out the empty flower pot and soda can and bottle cap. Turn over the wheelbarrow so water doesn't fill up inside," he said. "Do this now and do it regularly during the warmer months when mosquitoes are active."
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