Staten Island Man Confirmed as City's First Case of West Nile This Year

By Nicholas Rizzi on July 26, 2012 1:59pm 

The first human case of West Nile virus this year has been found in an unidentified Staten Island man over 50 years old, the Health Department said Thursday.
The first human case of West Nile virus this year has been found in an unidentified Staten Island man over 50 years old, the Health Department said Thursday.
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STATEN ISLAND —  A Staten Island man was found infected with the West Nile virus, the first human case in New York City this year, the Health Department said Thursday.

An unnamed man, who is over 50-years-old, was hospitalized with viral meningitis, the Health Department said. The man has now been released from the hospital.

“This first human case of West Nile virus this season provides a vital reminder to protect ourselves against mosquito bites,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the city's health commissioner, in a statement.

This human infection comes just weeks after traces of West Nile virus were found in some mosquitoes in New Dorp Beach and Bulls Head.

A growing number of mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus, the Health Department said. The Health Department has completed three rounds of pesticide spraying in the borough to reduce the amount of insects.

The Health Department urged New Yorkers to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, especially people over 50 years old.

"New Yorkers age 50 and older should be especially careful as they are more likely to become seriously ill, and in rare instances die, if infected," Farley said in a statement.

The Health Department suggested residents remove standing water from their property to keep mosquitoes from multiplying, and wear insect repellant when outdoors. They also said to wear long sleeves and pants in the early morning and night.

The virus can cause flu-like symptoms including headaches, fever and fatigue, but not everyone who is infected with the virus becomes ill.

The West Nile virus has been found in 252 New Yorkers since the virus was first discovered in the United States in 1999, the Health Department said.

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