2 new human West Nile virus cases in Suffolk Co.

West Nile Virus

August 20, 2010 6:25:16 PM PDT
Two new human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in the Town of Babylon.

The two cases are in addition to the year's first human case confirmed by the state earlier this month.

In that first case, a man from the Town of Huntington between the ages of 70 and 80 became ill on July 19th.

He is currently being cared for at an area hospital.

A female between the ages of 70 and 80 became ill on August 6th.

Her symptoms were fever, weakness and mental status changes. She is currently being cared for at an area hospital.

A female between the ages of 75 and 85 became ill on July 16th.

Her symptoms were dizziness, fever, nausea, vomiting, rash. She was hospitalized and is currently recovering in a physical rehabilitation center.

"West Nile virus is not contagious so there is no public health risk to anyone who has come into contact with the three individuals," said Dr. Tomarken. "However, this is certainly a very good reminder to everyone in Suffolk County to take necessary precautions to limit the chances of getting bitten by a mosquito."

Suffolk County has already treated both areas for mosquitoes and will conduct enhanced mosquito surveillance in both towns.

Dr. Tomarken said it was important for residents to reduce mosquito breeding in areas around their homes and property to prevent the transmission of West Nile virus to people. After each rainfall, remember to eliminate standing water in flower pots, clogged gutters, recycle bins, birdbaths, swimming pool and hot tub covers. Using insect repellants, avoiding the hours from dusk to dawn (when most mosquitoes are active), and wearing long sleeves and long pants when outdoor activity between dusk and dawn is unavoidable, are also steps everyone can take to stay healthy this summer. Mosquito season lasts from June 1 through November 1.

West Nile virus can cause serious illness and in some cases, death. It is estimated that 20 percent of those who become infected will develop clinically noticeable symptoms of West Nile virus disease. Mild symptoms include fever, headache and body aches, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Symptoms of severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, stupor and disorientation.

Since 1999, when West Nile virus was first isolated in New York, there have been 43 human cases of West Nile virus identified in Suffolk County as well as four deaths attributable to West Nile virus.

Dead birds found on area properties may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the West Nile virus hotline in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works' Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call 631-853-3055.

For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services' website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/departments/healthservices.aspx .