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New Haven makes plans to fight the West Nile Virus

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New Haven – Mayor Toni N. Harp said today the city’s public health department has completed this year’s plan to help protect city residents from the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus. Mayor Harp said completion of the city’s mosquito mitigation efforts coincides with the month of September – when mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus are said to be most active.

It’s no secret how mosquitoes carry the virus, and these next couple months are when those virus-infected mosquitoes pose the greatest risk.

The city’s plan to protect residents is three-fold. First, a public awareness campaign will be engaged to minimize the general population’s exposure. The city will distribute pamphlets that include important information about what to look for and how to avoid these pests, and the city will distribute widespread press notification.

This initiative will be supplemented with a proactive approach to more specifically help seniors avoid contact with the pests. 600 bottles of mosquito repellant are being made available through four distribution points: 150 bottles are at each of the city’s three senior centers and 150 more at the health department’s offices at 54 Meadow Street.

The third feature is the proactive introduction – by the Department of Public Works – of a mosquito larvicide into some 4,000 storm drains and catch basins. This insect growth regulator (IGR) literally prevents immature mosquitoes from becoming breeding, biting adults.

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The active ingredient in the larvicide is ‘target-specific,’ that is to say, it will not adversely impact fish, birds, mammals or beneficial predatory insects, and its use mitigates the need to use adult insecticides.

Many city residents remember the sad story of a city woman who succumbed to West Nile Virus about ten years ago. So the City of New Haven, led by Dr. Byron Kennedy, director of the city’s Health Department, Paul Kowalski, and others, put into place this three-phase approach to separate city residents – particularly senior citizens – from the mosquitoes that could put them at risk.

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