RAMAPO — The first positive finds of the West Nile virus this year came from Ramapo and Haverstraw, raising concerns among health officials, the Rockland Health Department announced today.
Out of 44 mosquito samples tested across the county, the two positive finds marked the earliest detection by nearly three weeks since the program’s inception, the department stated.
Officials attributed the early development of West Nile to the mild winter and early season rains that resulted in a higher population of mosquitoes.
The early detection of the virus levels and newly discovered invasive species, the Asian Tiger Mosquito, have Health Department officials concerned.
The virus — carried by mosquitos — can cause serious illness, as well as death depending on a person’s physical condition.
In a statement, the department said the public can help control the development and spread of the virus.
“We would like the public to take action to eliminate containers that may hold water, a favored breeding ground of the Tiger Mosquito as well as other mosquitoes,” the department stated.
The statement said even the smallest item can produce many mosquitoes. Water-filled containers that can become breeding areas include buckets, children’s toys, tires, wheelbarrows, tarps, gutters, discarded plastic bags, soda or water bottles.
“We encourage weekly inspections as mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in as little as 5-7 days,” the statement said.
The department also is concerned about the breeding potential of unused private swimming pools/spas and ask the public to call 845-364-3173 or email WNV@co.rockland.ny.us to report possible locations.
For more information on the West Nile virus, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: