FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 037-10 Thursday, August 5, 2010
MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Susan Craig/Zoe Tobin: PressOffice@health.nyc.gov
Health Department Reports First Human Case of West Nile Viral Disease for 2010 Season
Agency urges New Yorkers, especially those 50 or older, to take precautions against mosquito bites
August 5, 2010 – The Health Department today confirmed the
season's first human case of West Nile viral disease in a 61-year-old Bronx man
who was hospitalized with meningitis. In response to this case, and the growing
number of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus, the Health Department is
strongly urging New Yorkers to take steps to prevent infection.
“This first case of West Nile viral disease in New York City provides a vital
reminder to protect ourselves against mosquito bites,” said Dr. Thomas Farley,
New York City Health Commissioner. “Wearing mosquito repellent when you are
outdoors, and long sleeves and pants in the morning and evening, will reduce
your risk of infection. 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.”
West Nile virus infections typically begin to occur around this time in the
summer. To date, 199 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with West Nile viral
disease since it was first found in the United States in 1999, including 3 in
2009 and 15 in 2008.
The Health Department uses an “integrated pest management” approach to
monitors the city for West Nile Virus and control its spread by mosquitoes. The
agency inspects and treats standing water sites with non-chemical larvicides to
kill larval mosquitoes before they emerge as flying adults. When necessary, the
agency also applies small amounts of chemical pesticides (adulticides) to kill
adult mosquitoes. A schedule of mosquito control activities is available online
at nyc.gov/health or by phone
from the 311 call center.
Reducing Exposure to Mosquitoes
Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon
eucalyptus (not for children under three), or products that contain the active
Make sure windows have screens, and repair or replace screens that have
tears or holes.
Eliminate any standing water from your property, and dispose of containers
that can collect water. Standing water is a violation of the New York City
Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
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
West Nile virus infection can cause a mild or moderate flu-like illness, or
sometimes no symptoms at all. But in some people, particularly those 50 and
older, it can cause a serious and potentially fatal infection of the brain and
spinal cord. The most common symptoms are headache, fever, muscle aches and
extreme fatigue. Symptoms of more severe illness can also include changes in
mental status and muscle weakness. If you think you have symptoms of West Nile
Virus, see your doctor right away. For more information about West Nile Virus,
and how to avoid it, visit nyc.gov/health or call 311.