West Nile Virus is spread through mosquito bites/FotoshopTofs/Pixabay
West Nile Virus is spread through mosquito bites | FotoshopTofs/Pixabay

UES Sprayed with Pesticide to Prevent West Nile Virus

MANHATTAN – Despite another summer of health concerns fueled by Covid-19 and Legionnaires Disease outbreaks, the City is stepping into Fall working to tackle the transmission of West Nile Virus— which spreads through mosquito bites— by spraying pesticide across dozens of blocks of the Upper East Side.

Starting at 8:30 pm Monday night through 6:00 am Tuesday, crews from the NYC Department of Health were out in force spraying pesticides from trucks along Fifth Avenue, Madison and Park Avenues, as well as every cross street from south of the start of the UES at East 59th Street up well into East Harlem.

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The Health Department says it used low concentrations of pesticides, making the poison a low risk for people and pests— however, they say those who are sensitive to the spray may experience eye or throat irritation or a rash.

Map showing where pesticide will be sprayed on the UES to reduce West Nile virus risk/NYC Dept. of Health
Map showing where pesticide will be sprayed on the UES to reduce West Nile virus risk/NYC Dept. of Health

Officials say it’s best to stay indoors during the pesticide spraying and to keep your air conditioner on— just set it to recirculate so its not sucking in the pesticide from outdoors. If you do go outside, experts say it is best to wash your hands and any clothes exposed to the pesticide— and to always wash fruits and vegetables that have been exposed. 

West Nile season in New York City runs from June through October, with this year’s first infected mosquitoes discovered in mid-June and within a month’s time researchers found twenty times the number of West Nile-infected mosquito pools as last year. The staggering rise being attributed to ‘recent rains’ in a statement at the time.

A concern in New York City for more than two decades, most of those infected have no symptoms or mild to moderate illness— however, those over 60 years old or have weakened immune systems are more likely to get severely sick. 

Those that do get sick will show symptoms between three and fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms of Mild to Moderate Illness

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness/weakness
  • Body aches and joint pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash

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Symptoms of Severe Illness

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremors or shakes
  • Confusion
  • Numbness and paralysis
  • Coma

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