SOUNDVIEW - The city will begin its mosquito spraying program in the Bronx Tuesday in an effort to prevent the potentially fatal West Nile virus.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will use helicopters Tuesday through Thursday to spray marshy areas, such as a location near Pelham Bay Park. Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus, which health experts say can be fatal to the elderly, young and those who are pregnant. While the aerial spraying will not occur near residential areas, some residents are still concerned. "Just like it kills mosquitoes, it could harm me. Who knows what diseases [the chemicals may] cause in the future?" Carolyn Drummond said.

City Council Health Commission Chair Joel Rivera counters that the chemicals are not harmful to the average person. However, he claims they may cause problems for asthma and allergy sufferers.To protect against mosquito bites in problem areas, experts advise people wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. They also urge residents to make sure their screens are hole-free and to clean up still water on their property, which serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Related information:NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: 2007 West Nile Virus Spray Schedule