Long Island News

West Nile Virus confirmed in Suffolk County

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Long Island health officials have confirmed this year's first case of West Nile virus in Suffolk County.

The mosquito-borne virus can be fatal.

Officials say this year's first victim was an adult younger than 55 years old from Babylon who was in the hospital for four days and has now recovered.

The person experienced fever, headache, muscle aches and a stiff neck and was hospitalized starting July 30.

In 2011, Suffolk reported four confirmed cases of the virus in humans and Nassau County reported 16, according to state records.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease is to avoid mosquito bites. Insect repellants, screens on doors and windows and wearing long sleeves and pants are some of the recommended strategies. Also, empty standing water from buckets, kiddie pools and other places to discourage mosquito breeding.

The West Nile Virus is mild for most people, but can be deadly for others with weak immune systems.

Some people experience only mild flu-like symptoms after contracting West Nile virus, but the infection can cause meningitis or encephalitis, which can result in a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.

Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
  • Make sure windows have screens, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • 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.
  • Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
  • Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting http://www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.

    If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, see your doctor right away. The most common symptoms are headache, fever and extreme fatigue. For more information about West Nile virus, and how to avoid it, visit the Health Department website at www.nyc.gov/health or call 311.

    Information on West Nile virus surveillance is available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/wnvrrs.shtml/a>.


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