KEY POINTS

  • New York City has seen "record level" mosquito activity this year
  • It broke the previous record for West Nile virus-positive mosquito pools
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling for federal support for mosquito control

Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling for added efforts to combat the West Nile Virus as New York City continues to face a "record-breaking" season.

Mosquitoes are typically active in New York City from April to October and this year's West Nile virus season has been particularly hard for the city. As of Sept. 13, the health department had detected a "record-breaking 1,039 West Nile virus-positive mosquito pools." This is much higher than the usual average of 309 positive mosquito pools and breaks the 2018 record of 1,024 positive pools.

"This year's warm, wet weather may be contributing to these higher counts," the New York City government noted.

On Sunday, Sen. Schumer called for more federal money and resources in the efforts to control the mosquito population, NY Daily News reported. Calling this year's season "one of the worst mosquito seasons in recent memory" at a news conference, Schumer discussed the threat that is co-occurring with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There has been one thing on the frontrunner for the last year, as it should have been, which is of course COVID-19. But there is another bug plague in New York that we have to be vigilant about, we have to nip it in the bud, so it doesn't spread. It is this awful critter," Schumer said while holding the photo of a mosquito, amNY reported. "Even more concerning, these mosquitoes can spread the deadly West Nile virus and here is the thing that is troubling: they have found over a thousand pools that contain West Nile virus."

Schumer noted how climate change has been affecting mosquito breeding, allowing them to spread beyond summer and perhaps even into fall.

"I am calling upon the federal government to take a two-pronged approach to deal with the potential West Nile virus danger that looms over our city," Schumer said, as per amNY, and hoped that the federal government will help provide "additional resources."

The senator also noted that he had written a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Michael Regan to request for a virtual call between the feds and city officials to discuss pesticides, NY Daily News said.

The West Nile virus was first detected in New York State in 1999. Since then, there have been hundreds of human cases and dozens of deaths from the disease "statewide."

"The West Nile virus was first detected in New York City 22 years ago. Since 1999, the number of human cases has ranged from 3 to 47 annually," the New York City government had noted. "Of the 359 West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease cases reported through last year, 47 (13%) died due to their infection."

As of Sept. 7, there have been over 200 total cases of neuroinvasive and non-neuroinvasive West Nile Virus disease cases in the U.S. this year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arizona, Colorado and California are among the states particularly affected by the disease.

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus detected in New York Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus detected in New York Photo: FotoshopTofs - Pixabay Aedes aegypti mosquitoes Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 6, 2016. Photo: Reuters