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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 069-06
Friday, August 4, 2006

MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (After Hours)
Andrew Tucker (atucker@health.nyc.gov)
Sara Markt (smarkt@health.nyc.gov)


STATEN ISLAND MAN TESTS POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS

Health Department Urges New Yorkers – Especially Those Aged 50 or Older – To Take Precautions against Mosquito Bites

NEW YORK CITY – August 4, 2006 – This year’s first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) has been confirmed in a 67-year old Staten Island man, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). So far this season, DOHMH monitoring has detected WNV in all five boroughs. 76 mosquito pools in the City have tested positive for WNV, the vast majority of them in Staten Island. As previously announced, DOHMH will continue ground-based spraying in parts of Staten Island.

Beginning last month, the patient had symptoms of fever, headache, muscle pain, and weakness, and was hospitalized on July 24; he was subsequently diagnosed with viral meningitis. He has since been discharged and is currently recovering at home.

DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden said, "With the identification of this year’s first case of West Nile virus, I urge all New Yorkers – especially those over the age of 50 – to take steps to prevent mosquito bites. There has been significantly more West Nile virus activity in Staten Island this year, so I especially urge Staten Islanders to use mosquito repellent, get rid of standing water on their property, and make sure window and door screens are intact and free of tears or holes. These simple steps can help stop the spread of West Nile virus."

DOHMH Recommendations to Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes

  • Repair or replace all screens that have tears and holes.
  • Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property:
  • Dispose of containers that can collect standing water.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly and that rooftops are free of standing water.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
  • Vases are prohibited in cemeteries during WNV season.
  • Use mosquito repellent when outdoors in areas where mosquitoes are active. Repellents containing the active ingredients deet, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are approved for use by the U.S. EPA and New York State for protection against biting mosquitoes. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than three. Always read the repellents label and follow instructions for use.

The DOHMH website has up-to-date information and maps covering mosquito activity. To report dead birds or standing water call 311 or visit http://www.nyc.gov/health/wnv.

For information on WNV mosquito spraying times and locations go to http://nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/wnvspray.shtml.

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Important Links:
Report dead birds or standing water
Get information on WNV mosquito spraying times and locations