Areas Flooded By Hurricane Irene At West Nile Risk

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NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (UPI) — U.S. states on the East Coast hit by the heavy rains of Hurricane Irene are warning residents to be mindful that flooded areas increase West Nile virus risk.

Dr. Nirav R. Shah, commissioner of health of New York state, urged residents to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites — staying indoors during dawn and dusk — because the state has identified more than 400 mosquito pools that tested positive for West Nile Virus.

“Mosquitoes should not be considered harmless, and all New Yorkers should take steps to protect themselves from being bitten during the coming months,” Shah said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear long pants and long sleeves when outdoors and to apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Insect repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3, and products containing DEET should not be used on infants under two months of age, CDC officials said.

For children 2 months and older, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends products containing 10 percent to 30 percent DEET. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about 2 hours and 30 percent protects for about 5 hours.

Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of coverage. It is important to always follow the label directions when using insect repellent, the CDC advised.

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