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Westchester health department preps for sting of mosquito-borne illnesses

At first 'Mosquito Control Day', department offers tips to prevent mosquito bites and illnesses

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Along with warmer temperatures, spring brings the risk of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. To combat that, officials from the Westchester County Department of Health hosted their first "Mosquito Control Day" of the season at their headquarters in West Harrison.

"It only takes seven to ten days from the egg of a mosquito, to turn into a biting adult. And most of the time the mosquitoes that are biting you are breeding on your very own property,” said Pete DeLucia of the Department of Health.

DeLucia continued, “So if you're out there barbecuing, having a nice party and meanwhile your gutters are clogged, there's water in there for breeding mosquitoes. They bite you and your guests and then they lay eggs to breed another generation of mosquitoes."

The health department is offering free fathead minnows to Westchester residents. The minnows keep water from turning into a mosquito-breeding site, eating the larvae of the mosquitos to prevent a new generation from being born.

To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding or your family getting bit, the health department offered a handful of tips. First, they recommend removing all standing water, such as birdbaths, planters and gutters, especially after it rains. Second, they say to keep your arms and legs covered when outdoors, and use EPA-approved insect repellents.

Lisa Pow of Bedford came to pick up her free minnows and mosquito dunks. She was concerned about the coy pond and birdbaths in her backyard.

"We have a fair amount of mosquitos. It's something that I’m concerned about,” said Pow. “We have kids and there are pregnant women, so it's a concern."

The health department will be handing out more minnows at their headquarters, on Saturday April 22nd, as well as May 5th and 6th.

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