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Three people in New York City get West Nile, a mosquito-borne virus


Alina Prikhodko

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Three cases of West Nile virus have been reported in New York. Three people have tested positive for the virus, reports NBC New York.

On Wednesday, August 23, city officials said that two people from Queens and one resident of Manhattan were found to have a disease that is spread by mosquitoes. All three patients were forced to go to the hospital, two of them have already been discharged. In addition, a fourth possible Staten Island case is under investigation.

“We are working to prevent the spread of West Nile virus as much as possible through community education, wetland treatment and mosquito spraying,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Wasan.

New Yorkers can take some simple precautions to reduce their risk. For example, use EPA-registered insect repellents, especially outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquito species that transmit West Nile virus are most active. You can also prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the water by cleaning open containers that store water, or by calling 311 if you see standing water that cannot be disposed of.

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus usually appear in the city from May to October, and their peak activity occurs in August and September. The virus was first detected in the city more than two decades ago, and on average just over a dozen people are diagnosed with it a year.

In late July, a woman in Connecticut was diagnosed with West Nile virus, the first known case in that state in 2023. According to city officials, 569 mosquitoes have already been found in the city's five boroughs that have tested positive for West Nile virus, while in 2022 there were more than 1000.

West Nile virus symptoms

According to the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, most people infected with West Nile virus do not show any symptoms. Typical symptoms may include:

  • headache,
  • muscle pain,
  • rash,
  • severe tiredness.

Most people who become infected make a full recovery, although some may experience problems months after infection. A small number of people (about 1 in 150), especially those over the age of 60 or those with weakened immune systems, can develop a serious or even potentially fatal disease of the brain and spinal cord. This disease is called neuroinvasive West Nile disease, and it can lead to changes in mental status, as well as muscle weakness, requiring hospitalization.

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