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NYC Looks To Combat Rising Number Of West Nile Cases With Mosquito Spraying

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Residents on the Upper West Side are being advised to stay inside and keep the windows closed when city officials spray for mosquitoes during the early morning hours on Friday.

The move comes after more people were confirmed to have West Nile Virus in the city.

Liz Stein lives on mosquito-infested West 84th Street and welcomed the spraying to help rid her home and neighborhood of the pests, including any disease-carrying ones.

"Oh I have bites all over me," Stein told CBS 2's Dave Carlin. "It's not fun."

The number of confirmed New York City cases of West Nile Virus in humans is up to 13, with five of them in Manhattan. The city is responding with five hours of pesticide spraying from trucks starting at 1 a.m.

The spraying will be done from West 97th down to West 58th and from West End Avenue across to West Drive in Central Park. It won't affect the major thoroughfares of Central Park West and Broadway, CBS 2's Jessica Schneider reported.

The year-round sewer breeders have forced people to seal basements, install screens and cover vents.

For the most part, residents said they are relieved the city is spraying.

"I think it's in people's best interests to just let it happen," Dave Garone said.

"In the end, I wish they didn't do it around me," added Stephan Szkotnicki, of the Upper West Side.

Many areas in the Friday morning spraying zone are getting the pesticide for the first time.

City officials said residents are not likely to experience medical problems from it, but want everyone to try and avoid exposure. They will be warned.

Mosquito Spraying Map
The spraying zone for Friday morning (credit: CBS 2)

"This is the height of the West Nile season. We have spray trucks that will be accompanied by police cars and do an announcement made on loud speakers," said Mario Merlino, the Assistant Commissioner Of Veterinary and Pest Control Services.

Department of Health officials want city residents to stay indoors during the spraying period. They are also advising people to keep air conditioners off or at least use the re-circulate function.

Another tip officials are offering is to bring any items in backyards, especially children's toys, inside.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal is demanding the city also share more about West Nile hot spots.

"We need more information from the city particularly on what blocks West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes were found. Because on those blocks people should take more precautions," Rosenthal said.

Nationwide, cases are up a staggering 40 percent since just last week. Officials said pregnant women and children are more susceptible.

"I think we should be more informed of what's going on," local resident Sophia Sanborn said.

What precautions are you taking in response to West Nile Virus fears? Share your thoughts in the comments section below...

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