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One Additional Human Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in the Town of Huntington

Skeeters are still hanging around

Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services James L. Tomarken, MD, MSW, MPH, MBA, FRCPC, FACP, said today that the New York State laboratory has confirmed two new human cases of West Nile virus. The information is as follows:

An adult under the age of 55 from Town of Babylon began experiencing fever, body aches, rash, headache, fatigue, and eye pain on August 9, 2010. The patient was never hospitalized and is recovering at home.

An adult over the age of 55 from Town of Huntington began experiencing fever, nausea, vomiting diarrhea, and headache that on August 25, 2010. Patient was hospitalized and is currently recovering at a physical rehabilitation center.

The total number of human West Nile virus cases in Suffolk County to date this year is eight – six from the Town of Babylon and two from the Town of Huntington.

“Though the summer is over, mosquitoes are still active. We ask residents to continue take precautions to avoid being bitten,” said Dr. Tomarken. “We also ask them to visit their doctors promptly if they experience fever, headache or body aches for unknown reasons.”

Dr. Tomarken said it was important for residents to reduce mosquito breeding in areas around their homes and property to prevent the transmission of West Nile virus to people. After each rainfall, remember to eliminate standing water in flower pots, clogged gutters, recycle bins, birdbaths, swimming pool and hot tub covers.  Using insect repellants, avoiding the hours from dusk to dawn (when most mosquitoes are active), and wearing long sleeves and long pants when outdoor activity between dusk and dawn is unavoidable, are also steps everyone can take to stay healthy this summer. Mosquito season lasts from June 1 through November 1.

West Nile virus can cause serious illness and in some cases, death. It is estimated that 20 percent of those who become infected will develop clinically noticeable symptoms of West Nile virus disease. Mild symptoms include fever, headache and body aches, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.  Symptoms of severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, stupor and disorientation.

From 1999, when West Nile virus was first isolated in New York to 2009, there have been 42 human cases of West Nile virus identified in Suffolk County as well as four deaths attributable to West Nile virus.

Dead birds found on area properties may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the West Nile virus hotline in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call 631-853-3055.

For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/departments/healthservices.aspx .

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