Drowning in Zika: The Puddle Problem in Elmhurst

Within the past year, there has been massive preventative action against the outbreak of Zika virus within the United States. There have been billboards and flyers, emails and television announcements, urging citizens to be safe, and to protect themselves and their loved ones from this horrible “epidemic.” With all of the warnings about Zika virus, and helpful tips on how to prevent the spread of this virus, it is completely unacceptable to have the puddles of stagnant warm water (ample habitats for mosquito eggs to live and hatch) constantly around Elmhurst.

image001The path from the 7 train station to many apartments and business is scattered with large, still, murky, dingy puddles where there are hundreds of mosquitoes buzzing about. This summer’s scorching, sticky heat only provided nourishment for the environment of the mosquitoes, and it is creating panic among the citizens of the area. As the summer heat reached well into fall, with 80 degree days in October, the buzz surrounding these puddles only seems to get louder and stronger with each passing day.

image002As time goes on, it would seem that the puddles themselves are also beginning to take up more space, as the ground beneath them begins to crumble and soften under the weight of the water. As a people, we have been warned over and over of the dangers of Zika virus, especially being passed from pregnant women to their unborn children. My aunt is pregnant and when asked about the puddles outside some of the stations entrances and some stores in the surrounding areas, she said, “I avoid [the puddles] at all costs. I sometimes walk further than I have to, or down a darker block just to avoid being near them. But, I also worry that mosquitoes travel, and that because I live so close, any of the infected could come in through a window or through my front door and affect my child.”


It would seem that pregnant mothers aren’t the only ones to suffer from these smelling, warm, stagnant puddles filled with buzzing mosquitoes; the store fronts are also suffering. “People avoid coming down this block because of the puddles outside of some of the store fronts,” one Elmhurst store owner told me. “I have tried a few times to sweep the water out from the puddles, but I am afraid of being attacked by the mosquitoes that live inside of it.” Is this how a booming, growing, thriving neighborhood in New York City should look? Is it okay for its citizens to leave their houses nervous, for fear of a Zika infection? It should be easy to send someone down to the few problem blocks to sweep out these puddles and maybe even spray a preventative attack against the Zika mosquitoes. This area is otherwise thriving and it deserves to stay that way.

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