The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has announced that two human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been reported in New York City.
One of the West Nile virus cases was reported in Brooklyn, while the other was reported in Queens.
The Health Department says that the two WNV cases have occurred amidst a record number of WNV-infected mosquitoes that have been detected throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
As well, according to the Health Department, August and September are the two months when WNV-infected mosquitoes are at their most active.
While most people that are infected with WNV either experience no symptoms at all or develop fully recoverable symptoms—such as a fever, headache, fatigue, etc.—the Health Department says that infected people over 60 years of age, as well as infected people with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of experiencing severe and potentially fatal illnesses.
Because of the record number of WNV-infected mosquitoes and the increased risk to public health as a result of this trend, the Health Department recommends that citizens of New York City take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from possible infection.
“We are in the height of West Nile virus season, but there are things you can do to decrease your risk of being bitten,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Use an EPA registered insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, especially when outside at dusk and dawn when the types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV are most active.”
“In addition, you can stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water by emptying outdoor containers that hold water or calling 311 if you see standing water that you cannot empty. Help keep you and your loved ones safe with these actions during WNV season.”
On top of Dr. Vasan’s advice, the NYC Health Department also recommends that New Yorkers check to make sure that their windows have screens that are devoid of any holes or tears, make sure gutters are cleaned and properly drained, as well as regularly cleaning and chlorinating any swimming pools, outdoor saunas and/or hot tubs.
For more information about West Nile virus or to report standing water, you can visit nyc.gov/health/wnv or call 311.