Health officials in Westchester are taking steps to protect residents from mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile and Zika, according to a report by FiOS1 News.
Traps have been set up to catch skeeters so they can be taken to a lab for testing, FiOS1 reported.
No tests have come back positive for Zika or West Nile, but that may change where the latter is concerned, health experts told FiOS1.
The state Department of Health reported that lab tests had identified 324 cases of Zika in New York state as of June 28.
All were travel related; none were acquired locally, health officials said.
The main species blamed for the spread of the disease, which has been linked to birth defects, is Aedes aegypti, found in south and Central America.
However, a related species, Aedes albopictus, is also suspected in transmitting Zika.
Aedes albopictus has been identified in the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island, but has, so far, not been found to be carrying Zika, state health officials said.
"Mosquito-borne diseases are a major public health threat, one that we monitor closely here in New York" said Dr. Howard A. Zucker the state’s health commissioner.
After emergency regulations were adopted by the state in March, local health departments were required to update their protocols for trapping, testing and controlling mosquitoes.
The state has distributed thousands of tablets that contain a natural bacteria that kills mosquito larvae.
It has also sent out kits to medical providers with patients who are pregnant and who may be traveling to countries where Zika is present, the state said.
The kits include mosquito repellent, larvicide tablets, condoms and educational materials.
The state is running a Zika awareness campaign on television and radio stations and with posters on buses and other forms of public transportation.
In the event of a locally acquired Zika case, the state said it is prepared to send “rapid response teams” to the affected area to perform additional control measures and develop a local “action plan.”
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