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Upper West Side Residents Getting City's Attention As Mosquitoes Plague Neighborhood

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A vexing plague has returned to the Upper West Side.

CBS 2 was the first to report on the invasion of sewer-bred mosquitoes last year, and they are now back with a vengeance. But bite-weary residents are finally getting the New York City's full attention.

"You wake up in the morning and you're scratching all over," Upper West Side resident Jason Mann told CBS 2's Dave Carlin.

The source of the misery under 84th Street is a colony of aggressive blood suckers. The scientific name is Culex Pipiens Molestus, but they're known around the area as year-round sewer mosquitoes that plague the Upper West Side, buzzing, biting and refusing to go away.

"When our lease is up in August we're getting out of here," Mann said.

The mosquitoes are hard to get to because they breed in the sewers, entering apartments through cracks in basements, sidewalks and roadways.

Scores of neighbors have been suffering constant painful welts, including Pauline Galiano, who had a particularly bad reaction.

"The bite is like a fire and it lasts for days," Galiano said.

Residents have sealed basements, installed screens and covered vents, but nothing seems to work. Along with nets, neighbors have also invested in racquet-shaped objects which are intended to deliver electric zaps to the enemy.

"Every agency is in agreement that there's standing water underground, but each agency is saying that it's the other agency's problem," Upper West Side resident Jennifer Hamilton remarked.

Assembly member Linda Rosenthal said that for months city officials have dragged their feet, and didn't even log complaints to the 311 system.

But now she is reporting some progress. Officials with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Health and Con Edison are set to meet with her and the public at a town hall meeting on Thursday, and they're vowing to do whatever it takes to fix the problem once and for all.

"Tear it up and start again," Rosenthal said. "In this case it seems like that may very well be what will solve the problem."

Residents said they will no longer stand for being told to buzz off, and will keep the pressure on until these mosquitoes move.

The Department of Health tested the mosquitoes and found no sign of the West Nile virus, determining that they do not pose a significant health threat.

Upper West Side residents, have you considered moving because of the mosquito problem in your neighborhood? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below...

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