West Nile Virus Detected in NYC for First Time This Season


Mosquitoes with West Nile virus have been found in the Bronx and Staten Island, in the first cases of this season in New York City, the city health department announced Tuesday.

No human cases have been reported yet this year.

The mosquito season typically spans from April through September. The West Nile virus was first detected in the city in 1999. There have been 353 human cases, 46 of whom (13%) have died.

Of those infected with West Nile virus, 80% have no symptoms at all, and others have mild or moderate illness, including headaches, fever, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue. In some people, particularly those 50 and older or who have weakened immune systems, the virus can cause a serious and potentially fatal infection of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of more severe illness can also include changes in mental status and muscle weakness requiring hospitalization.

To reduce the risk of West Nile virus, the health department advises:

  • Eliminate any standing water from your property and dispose of containers that can collect water. Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code.
  • Keep your arms and legs covered, or wear an approved insect repellent containing picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
  • Make sure windows have screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • Make sure roof gutters are clean and drained properly.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty or covered if not in use. Drain water that collects in pool covers.

For more information about West Nile virus, or to report standing water, visit nyc.gov/health/wnv or call 311.

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