What to Know
- It's the first West Nile-related death in Suffolk County since 2010 and the county's fourth confirmed case of infection this year
- West Nile virus infection can cause a mile or moderate flu-like illness, or sometimes no symptoms at all; in other cases, it can be fatal
- Individuals most at risk for severe infection include those over 50 and those with chronic illness or compromised immune systems
A Long Island resident who died this month has positive for West Nile virus, marking Suffolk County's first such death in nearly a decade.
The Town of Islip resident, whose name has not been released, was over the age of 50 and began experiencing symptoms associated with the mosquito-borne infection in late August, according to the Suffolk County Department of Health. The person was hospitalized in mid-September and died a few days later.
Suffolk County hasn't seen a death associated with West Nile since 2010. The person who died is the fourth confirmed case in the county this year. The other three, two from Smithtown and one from Brookhaven, who contracted the virus have either recovered or are recuperating.
West Nile virus infection can cause a mile or moderate flu-like illness, or sometimes no symptoms at all. In some people, it can cause a serious and potentially fatal infection of the brain and spinal cord.
Individuals who are most at risk for severe infection include those over 50 years of age and those with chronic illness or compromised immune systems. These individuals are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes during mosquito season, which extends from June 1 through Nov. 1.
Among the recommendations: use insect repellent containing DEET, spray clothing with repellent containing permethrin, avoid going outside from dusk to dawn when most mosquitoes are active, wear long sleeves and long pants when nighttime activity is unavoidable, eliminate standing water from flowerpots, clogged gutters, recycle bins, birdbaths, toys, swimming pool and hot tub covers.