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Saturday, April 17, 2021

New York to Close Closed Offices to Mosquitoes, Along With Chickens, After Hitting First Flu-Like Outbreak

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Hours after a deadly cluster of cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus was found in a 20-square-mile area around Middletown, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday he is enacting a strict set of measures to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds in parts of the state as the state tries to control the spread of the virus, which is usually not fatal to people and has only a slight chance of causing a serious health threat.

The severe restrictions on areas affected by the virus — including the intensive efforts to educate and seek help for those in West Virginia and Washington counties affected by recent incidents — had been expected.

As a result of this summer’s warmer weather, there are widespread mosquito populations in New York. So far, there have been 15 human cases of West Nile virus, which is more than double the same point last year, when there were six. Six other illnesses have been caused by birds in New York.

All poultry products from affected counties — including the retail meat industry — were banned on Thursday, starting immediately, according to the Department of Agriculture and Markets. The ban will be extended through Oct. 1.

Mr. Cuomo is in the process of enforcing his administration’s recent executive order on pesticides, the governor’s office said. The new measures include a conditional ban on mosquito spraying, where possible, on a monthly basis; additional assessments of the availability of larvicide in affected areas; additional inspections of drinking water and water distribution systems to look for sites where mosquitoes could breed; and more partnerships with homeowners associations, healthcare institutions and other organizations for education and prevention of the virus.

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