NYC fighting Zika risk in Brooklyn, Queens by spraying mosquito pesticide

The New York City Department of Health will spray pesticide from trucks in parts of Queens and Brooklyn between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday to kill mosquitoes and lessen the risk of the Zika and West Nile viruses.

In case of inclement weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday night.

Neighborhoods to be sprayed in Queens include Briarwood, Elmhurst, Forest Hills and Forest Hills Gardens, Glendale, Jamaica and Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens and Kew Gardens Hill, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park, Richmond Hill and Ridgewood. Neighborhoods to be sprayed in Brooklyn include Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend and Seagate.

The neighborhoods to be sprayed this week have shown an increase in West Nile virus activity and high numbers of Culex mosquitoes, which have transmitted West Nile in NYC since 1999. These mosquitoes, however are not known to transmit Zika. They also have shown a significant presence of Asian Tiger mosquitoes. While a cousin mosquito (Aedes Aegypti) is responsible for the current Zika outbreak in Latin and Central americas, the Tiger mosquitoes are potential carriers.

Residents – especially those with asthma and other respiratory conditions – are advised to stay indoors while their neighborhoods are sprayed. Air conditioners can remain on, but residents in areas being sprayed who want to reduce their exposure to pesticides should close their vents or use the function that allows indoor air to recirculate. Residents should also remove all toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from areas about to be sprayed and wash any items left out with soap and water before using them again.

The spraying schedule can be found online at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/west-nile-virus-spray.page or check the @nychealthy account on Twitter.