In an effort to combat the spread of the Zika virus in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday aggressive new measures the state plans to undertake, including the distribution of free larvicide dunks to residents.
Standing before a pool of standing water at a subway station, and later at a local park, Cuomo said the state Department of Health, in partnership with the MTA, is deploying larvicide tablets to standing water within the subway system to decrease the prevalence of potential breeding grounds for the albopictus mosquito.
In addition, the Department of Health will coordinate with all state agencies to ensure all measures possible are being taken to proactively address the situation, Cuomo said.
"I feel very strongly in a situation like this, the best course is always to get ahead of it. That is exactly what we have been doing, we have been working on it for months," he added.
The state is also redoubling its efforts to protect New Yorkers from the virus – ramping up distribution of larvicide tablets to homeowners and providing more Zika protection kits to pregnant women at health and family planning centers and WIC programs across the state.
"We also want homeowners to be diligent and homeowners to take action. The state will make available, at no cost, what looks like a small donut, an insect repellant, a prevention larvicide that we will give to the homeowner, drop it in standing water and for 30 days it will kill or stop any mosquitos from breeding in that water," Cuomo said.
To receive the free tablets, residents should call 888-364-4723 and they will be mailed free of charge.
According to Dr. Howard Zucker, commissioner of the state Department of Health, the Zika carrying mosquitoes only travel for about 200 yards from the area they are hacked. So if resident's use the tablets they will not only protect themselves, they will also protect others, he said.
Zucker added that officials have already set-up monitoring stations across the state for testing of mosquitoes, and have approved all Zika action plans required by each county in the state.
Although there have been no cases of Zika contracted in the state, to date there are 537 cases of Zika statewide, with 123 cases outside of New York City, and 414 in the city. All but five of the cases have been sexually transmitted, Zucker said.
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