West Nile Virus kills three in the area

NEW YORK The Nassau County Department of Health is reporting a total of six cases of West Nile virus in Nassau County residents this year.

Health officials are concerned that the virus might be stronger this year. They are urging residents in both counties on Long Island to take precautions.

The first confirmed death from West Nile virus in New York state this year was a 75- year-old man who lived in Carle Place. Retired plumber George Cody was in excellent health, his family said. He became ill on August 5 with fever and extreme weakness. He was hospitalized on August 11 and died on August 25.

The second death was of an 80-year old woman from New Hyde Park, with a probable case of West Nile. Her symptoms included fever, vomiting and neck stiffness. She became ill on August 20, was hospitalized on August 21 and died on August 24. Tests to confirm West Nile virus will be performed by state Department of Health. Results are expected next week.

The newly-diagnosed confirmed case is in a 57-year old Bethpage woman, who is currently recovering at home.

The newly-diagnosed probable case is a 49-year old woman from West Hempstead. She became ill on August 11 with headache, aches and fatigue. She was not hospitalized and is recovering at home.

A 64-year-old man from Uniondale was confirmed to have West Nile earlier this month. He was hospitalized on August 8 and remains there, while a 52-year old Massapequa woman was diagnosed with probable West Nile. She became ill in July was discharged four weeks later.

The Nassau County Departments of Health and Public Works have intensified mosquito surveillance activities in all six communities. They are inspecting for breeding sites and, when necessary, will apply larvicide.

In 2007, Nassau County had two cases with no deaths; in 2006 there were five cases including one death; and in 2005 there were 12 cases with one death. Commissioner of Health Dr. Maria Torroella Carney urges residents to:

  • Empty standing water from old tires, garbage cans, or any object that can hold water
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall
  • Keep swimming pools chlorinated and their covers free of stagnant water
  • Change the water in birdbaths every two or three days
  • Keep window and door screens in good repair
  • Consider wearing long sleeves, pants, socks and mosquito repellent (according to directions) where mosquitoes are active, especially in the late afternoon and at dawn and dusk
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when outside, especially at dawn and dusk

    To report a mosquito problem, please call the Department of Public Works Mosquito Control at 516-572-1166 weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Residents can hear the latest information about West Nile virus by calling (516) 227-9700. The information is available 24 hours a day. In addition, West Nile information may be found on the Health Department Web site at NassauCountyNY.gov/agencies/health/

    How to Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes:

  • Use an approved mosquito repellent in areas where mosquitoes are active. Repellents containing the active ingredients DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are approved for use by New York State and the U.S. EPA and for protection against biting mosquitoes. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than three. Always read the repellent's label and follow instructions.
  • New York City residents can report dead birds or standing water by calling 311 or visiting NYC.gov.
  • The Health Department's Web site has up-to-date information and maps on mosquito activity.

    For more information:

    National Library of Medicine: West Nile Virus

    KidsHealth: What is West Nile Virus?


    WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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