More West Nile Cases As Health Concerns Grow - NBC New York

More West Nile Cases As Health Concerns Grow



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    MARTINEZ, CA - APRIL 09: A mosquito sits on a stick April 9, 2009 in Martinez, California. Unseasonably warm weather for Northern California in January appears to have brought female mosquitos out of hibernation and have started to breed months ahead of the normal breeding season. Several groups of mosquitos found in a marsh near the Contra Costa County town of Martinez have tested positive for the West Nile Virus prompting county officials to do more testing and releasing mosquito fish in abandoned pools around the county. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    The West Nile numbers change so quickly, Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein can barely keep up.

    "There could be new cases confirmed before the end of this conversation," Nassau county's deputy health commissioner.told

    Two more human cases of West Nile virus were confirmed in Nassau county Friday, health officials said.  No details about the latest victims were released.

    That brings to seventeen the total number of West Nile cases in Nassau county so far this year -- more than the rest of New York combined and the most in Nassau since 2008, when 20 people contracted the mosquito-borne virus and four died.

    So far, no one has died this year; but several of the victims are hospitalized in critical condition, according to Dr. Eisenstein. The victims range in age from their early twenties to their mid-nineties and come from communities all across the county.

    "And it's still early in the season," added Eisenstein.  "We know we are going to surpass the highest amount we have ever had."

    That estimate sent a chill through mom Lisa DiMarco of Massapequa, as her two sons frolicked at a playground in East Meadow's Eisenhower Park.

    "I'm worried about them," DiMarco said.  "I use prevention on them, OFF, all the time.  High grass areas, standing water- I don't let them near those things."

    Prevention, not panic, is the key said Nassau health officials, who urged that people wear bug spray and long sleeves and pants when venturing out after dusk.   

    No additional pesticide spraying is planned in the county at the moment.  Officials are still assessing whether more than a week of aerial and ground spraying took a bite out of the growing mosquito population.

    There are also no immediate plans to close county parks or limit outdoor activities.

    "It's out there but it has been around and I think if you take precautions, you don't have to worry as much," said Levittown father, Jeff Rosenthal, as he practiced swinging a golf club with son, Jake. 

    So far this year, there have been four confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in neighboring Suffolk county.