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New York City Confirms First Human Case of West Nile Virus

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New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced Aug 5 that the first human case of West Nile virus disease was confirmed in a city resident.

The 61-year old man in Bronx, whose name was not released, was hospitalize with meningitis, a serious neuroinvasive disease that can be induced by the West Nile virus. There is no reporting of how the man acquired the virus.

This case and a growing number of mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile virus prompted the City Health Department to urge New Yorkers, particularly those aged 50 and older to take measures to prevent the viral illness.  

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus can spread the virus to humans. Mosquitoes can acquire the virus from infected birds.

Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner said “Wearing mosquito repellent when you are outdoors, and long sleeves and pants in the morning and evening, will reduce your risk of infection. New Yorkers age 50 and older should be especially careful as they are more likely to become seriously ill, and in rare instances die, if infected.”

In a press release, the New York City health agency recommends a number of measures that residents may take to prevent mosquito bites.

The measures intended to reduce exposure to mosquitoes include use of an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (this is not for children under the age of three years) or products that contain active ingredient IR3535.

The city agency also says residents should make sure to use window screens for homes, eliminate any standing water near residential properties, clean roof gutters, and clean and chlorinate swimming pools ,outdoor saunas and hot tubs.

Mosquitoes can spread Viruses and viral diseases including West Nile virus which can cause serous disease like meningitis and encephalitis.

By Jimmy Downs

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