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City Confirms First Human Case of West Nile Virus This Year

By Ben Fractenberg | August 11, 2017 3:59pm | Updated on August 14, 2017 6:59am
 The first human case of West Nile virus was discovered, health department officials said.
The first human case of West Nile virus was discovered, health department officials said.
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Flickr/dr_relling

MANHATTAN — The city had its first human case of the West Nile virus while a record-high number of mosquitos tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health announced Friday.

The person infected with the virus, who is less than 50 years old, has another medical condition and is currently in serious condition in a Manhattan hospital, according to the agency.

The virus was discovered in mosquitos on Staten Island earlier this summer, and so far this season 337 “Mosquito pools” — or collections of bugs captured in an area and tested — have tested positive, which is a record for this point in the summer.

The number could result in more infections for 2017, Health Department officials said.

"The findings from our mosquito surveillance are concerning and serve as a reminder for all New Yorkers that they can take simple precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites: wear mosquito repellent, cover your arms and legs when you are outdoors, get rid of standing water, and install window screens," Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement.

"We will not be able to completely eradicate West Nile virus from the mosquito population, but we can reduce human transmission and save lives."

The virus was first detected in the city in 1999 and 317 people have become infected in total, with 38 of them dying. The number of human cases has ranged between three to 47 a year.

Symptoms sometimes involve flu-like conditions including headache, fever and fatigue.