Mosquito bug could hit New York

By Jo Tweedy, TravelMail

Last updated at 12:35 25 June 2003

Meteorologists have warned unusual weather conditions in New York could attract a swarm of mosquitoes carrying the deadly West Nile Virus disease this summer.

Experts at the United States' eastern seabord say that heavy rain - New York has had more rainfall than London this year - has left more water than usual stagnated in cities and vulnerable to 'larger, hungrier' mosquitoes as a result.

Concerns are growing that the insects could infect downtown areas of towns and cities. US authorities have declared a 'mosquito awareness week' to educate people about symptoms of the disease.

New York's assistant commissioner for veterinary and pest control services, James Gibson said: 'The weather had got warmer and when there are a lot of breeding sites it is a cause for concern. The virus is still new and extremely unpredictable. Last year there were drought conditions and there was an explosive number of cases.'

Helicopter crews have already been employed to drop insecticide over New York's Staten Island to try and prevent the disease.

The first case of the West Nile virus was detected in New York four years ago. 284 people died of the disease in America last year.

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