New York City Department of Health announced on Tuesday that West Nile virus has been detected in two people, one in Brooklyn and another in Queens, as well as in a “record number” of infected mosquitoes across the city.
A total of 54 cases and four deaths have been reported across the country this year, according to the health ministry’s announcement.
In New York, the number of mosquito pools that tested positive for West Nile virus was “the highest number ever recorded” at 1,068 in five counties, compared with 779 positive pools, the health department said. at this time last year, the health department said.
Over the past decade, between six and 30 people have tested positive annually, with a mortality rate of around 14%, according to the health ministry.
Here’s what to know about West Nile virus, the risk factors it poses to New Yorkers, and how to stay protected:
What are the risks?
West Nile virus is spread by bite from an infected mosquito and can infect humans, birds, and other mammals. According to health officials, it cannot be spread from person to person through causality.
What are the symptoms and treatment?
Most people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms or may experience mild to moderate illness, according to the CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About one in five have a fever, along with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pain, diarrhea, vomiting or a rash, according to the CDC.
And about one out of 150 people who become infected develops it severely. Symptoms include high fever, headache, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, decreased vision or paralysis.
According to health officials, people over the age of 60 are most at risk of severe illness. The average age of people who test positive in New York City is 62. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure, may also be at increased risk for severe illness. than.
Recovery from a severe West Nile case can take weeks to months, but central nervous system damage can be permanent.
Blood tests may be conducted to identify West Nile infection.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile virus infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to help relieve some symptoms and may require hospitalization for more severe cases.
How to protect yourself
The New York City Department of Health recommends the use of approved insect repellents containing picaridin, which can be applied directly to skin and clothing. The US Environmental Protection Agency also has list of recommended repellents.
Mosquitoes are most active from April to October, so limiting outdoor activities during those seasons, especially at dawn and dusk can also reduce the risk of contracting the virus. When outdoors, recommended by health officials Wear protective clothing at night. During the day, they recommend avoiding dark clothing, shaded places where mosquitoes lay eggs during the day, and any scented perfumes, lotions, and body lotions.