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Congressman Steve Israel

Representing the 3rd District of NEW YORK

Rep. Israel Urges CDC to Provide Resources to Long Island as it Battles New Type of Mosquito

Jun 23, 2014
Press Release
Asian Tiger mosquito can transmit diseases such as dengue fever and yellow fever

Port Washington, NY— Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) called on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help Long Island as it battles a new type of mosquito, the Asian Tiger mosquito, which is known to transmit tropical diseases such as dengue fever and yellow fever. The prevalence of these mosquitoes increased an alarming 220 percent from 2010 to 2012 in samples collected in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

“With the Asian Tiger mosquito’s presence quickly increasing on Long Island and throughout New York, the CDC and its partners in the federal government need to do all they can to protect Long Islanders. We need all levels of government to work together to make sure that Long Islanders know how to protect themselves, and this does not turn into a serious public health issue. I commend Nassau County for being so proactive on this issue, and I will continue advocating for them to receive all the resources necessary to continue their excellent work.”

“It's so profoundly important to continue the partnership forged between the CDC and state and local governments,” said Rep. Ada, Schiff (D-Calif), who joined Rep. Israel in calling on the CDC to provide resources. “The 21st Century, with the constant movement of goods and people across borders and in greater numbers than ever before, has joined with Mother Nature’s most lethal killing machine to accelerate and widen the threats we face from disease.  Constant vigilance and planning are essential to containing outbreaks and mitigating the mosquito as a disease vector and the CDC is a key resource that all of us – at every level of government – need to be able to access for crucial information and assistance.”

Nassau County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein said, “We are proud to have a strong mosquito surveillance and control program our program, which is based on current Federal (CDC) and State Health Department guidance, in Nassau County, where we’ve had no West Nile-infected mosquitos here this year to date. However, we can always use more resources and public education, which is why I commend Rep. Israel for calling on the CDC to do everything in its power to help us control this issue. Especially in the face of a new strain of mosquito, we need all the federal resources we can get.”

Dr. Bruce Hirsch of the Division of Infectious Diseases at North Shore-LIJ Health System, said, “The new bug in town, the Asian Tiger mosquito, reminds us that we live on a small world. Our health in New York City is becoming vulnerable to exotic diseases associated with the tropics. The actions against mosquitoes are an example of working together to protect ourselves. I look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers like, Rep. Israel, and the CDC to ensure that we have the resources necessary to combat this issue.”

New York State Senator Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola), said, “The federal government has to do more to combat the Asian Tiger mosquito now.  These aggressive bloodsuckers are biting adults and children all across Long Island, and their numbers are growing exponentially.  They are not only a nuisance, they are potential disease carriers.  The CDC needs to deliver additional resources to help eliminate this problem, and I join Congressman Israel, Supervisor Bosworth, and our public health officials in urging them to act, and act now.”

“Now that summer is upon us, I join congressman Israel in his effort to protect the health and wellbeing of Nassau County residents,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel. “We must do everything we can to prevent and control the spread of this mosquito-borne disease.”

Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, said, “I thank Congressman Steve Israel for advocating to the CDC on behalf of our area. This is a serious and growing health issue, so his leadership is much appreciated and could save lives.”

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, said, “It is crucial that the CDC continue to provide localities with its technical and financial assistance for our battle against West Nile Virus along with our latest foe here on Long Island, the Asian Tiger mosquito, which carries dengue fever. In addition to educating the public on prevention, and training our clinicians on detection, we also rely on the expertise and support of the CDC.”

The Asian tiger mosquito is the main way the dengue virus is spread. What makes this type of mosquito particularly insidious is that it can breed in a bottle cap of water, not requiring the larger pools of standing water in which other mosquitoes breed, and because it rests in darker cool areas, it can hide in closets and bite indoors.  These mosquitoes are also highly resilient and have the ability to bounce back to initial numbers after droughts or human control measures.

The first locally-transmitted case of dengue fever in New York State was found in Suffolk County this past November.