A 61-year-old man is the first person in NYC diagnosed with the West Nile Virus this season. The Bronx man was hospitalized with meningitis this week.
Three cases of the West Nile virus were found in city residents in 2009 and 15 in 2008. The virus was found in mosquitoes in all 5 boroughs this summer, when the infections typically begin to occur.
The virus is transmitted through mosquito vectors. The most common symptoms are headache, fever, muscle aches and extreme fatigue. Symptoms of more severe illness can also include changes in mental status and muscle weakness. In some people age 50 and older, it can cause a serious and potentially fatal infection of the brain and spinal cord.
The Health Department is strongly urging New Yorkers to take steps to take precautions against mosquito bites. Officials advise:
• To 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.
• To make sure windows have screens, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
• To 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.
• To make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
• To 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.
• To report standing water by calling 311 or visiting http://www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.
Health department workers have been spraying pesticides where the virus was detected.