Schumer calls for more federal funds to fight disease-carrying mosquitoes

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New York needs more federal funds to tackle the pesky mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus, US Senator Chuck Schumer said on Sunday.

Schumer (DN.Y.) said parts of Long Island, New York City and the upstate are seeing an increase in mosquitoes that are more than just a nuisance.

“We have to nip it in the bud, so that it doesn’t spread,” Schumer said at a press conference in midtown Manhattan near his New York office.

“Ask about mosquitoes this summer at any outdoor restaurant,” Schumer said, noting that he had recently been bitten in the ear by one of the blood-sucking bugs.

He wrote to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan asking for additional help in New York City and requested a 61% increase in funding for the vector-borne diseases program of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. United, which could provide more money for prevention, surveillance and testing. at the local level – approximately $ 68 million compared to the current budget of $ 42 million.

The US Environmental Protection Agency “can intervene immediately,” Schumer said. “They have the resources. They are the experts on how to prevent the spread of these viruses.”

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes and first appeared in New York City over 20 years ago.

It can cause mild illness as well as encephalitis or meningitis. State health officials say people over 50 are most at risk for serious illness from the virus.

Symptoms include a high fever, headache, stiff neck, and muscle weakness.

National CDC figures show 210 cases of West Nile virus have been reported to the agency as of September 7. About 65% were considered neuroinvasive, meaning they resulted in meningitis or encephalitis.

“It could get worse,” Schumer said, noting that the season can last from October through November.

Last week, Suffolk County Health Commissioner Gregson Pigott announced that six mosquito samples taken from Cold Spring Harbor, Brentwood, Bay Shore, Riverhead and Bohemia between September 6 and 12 tested positive for West Nile virus. So far this season, 104 mosquito samples and four birds have tested positive for the virus in Suffolk.

There has been a documented human case of West Nile virus in Suffolk County this season – an individual in the town of Huntington who has recovered, officials said.

New York City health officials reported human cases of West Nile virus in all five boroughs as well as 1,039 positive mosquito pools, which they described as “a record.” They said the increase in numbers could be due to the hot and humid weather.

“Confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito and bird samples indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the region,” Pigott said in a statement. “While there is no cause for alarm, we ask residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”

Pigott urged residents to take precautions such as using insect repellent containing DEET, wearing long sleeves and long pants when going out at night, and removing standing water from flowerpots, bird baths and other containers around the house.


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