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New York Reports First Case Of West Nile Virus


New York City's first case of West Nile Virus was confirmed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene this week. A Staten Island man was publicly diagnosed with the virus after he was admitted to an area hospital for viral meningitis.

So far, 182 people in 17 U.S. states have contracted the virus this year. The largest outbreaks have occurred in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

West Nile, a virus spread through blood sucking insects such as mosquitoes, is exhibited in humans in three different ways. First, more than 80 percent of humans infected show no signs of the virus, or are asymptomatic. In the remaining 20 percent, either a mild fever or, more seriously, a severe case of meningitis or encephalitis can develop.

Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner, said all New Yorkers, especially those over the age of 50, should be especially cautious around mosquitoes.

"This first human case of West Nile virus this season provides a vital reminder to protect ourselves against mosquito bites," Farley said.

"Eliminating standing water from your property will help prevent mosquitoes from multiplying. Wearing mosquito repellent when you are outdoors, and long sleeves and pants in the morning and evening will reduce your risk of infection."

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