Mosquito-borne illnesses on the rise in New York

June 04, 2019 06:58 PM

It's time to stock up on bug spray and start emptying out any standing water around your home.

According to, this mosquito season is expected to be a particularly bad one here in the Northeast.

The New York State Department of Health monitors the mosquito population every year between the months of June and October. In 2018, they reported 1,496 mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile Virus. There were 87 confirmed human cases and 20 equine cases.

In 2017, DOH says 1215 West Nile positive pools were reported with 51 human cases and 20 equine cases. DOH says counties typically collect the mosquito samples and the state will test them.

"Based on those results, counties will typically choose to perform some sort of action. Whether or not that's education, whether or not it's trying to do some sort of mosquito control or not. There are certain areas of the state that have a much more of a mosquito problem than the Capital District does - and most of the positive we see, most of the collecting that we see, goes on in those areas," said Bryon Backenson, Deputy Director for the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control.

The reports suggest mosquito-borne illnesses are on the rise and experts believe that trend will continue.

While West Nile doesn't usually present itself until July or August, DOH says there are things people can do now to help try to keep the mosquito population down. 

"Mosquitos basically need to breed in water, so what they'll do is they'll lay their eggs on water and the immature mosquitos - before they turn into adults, live in water. The biggest thing you can do is remove those sources of water in your property," said Backenson.

Backenson also recommends using an insect repellent that contains DEET. 


Jacquie Slater

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