Health Alert: High Levels Of West Nile Virus Activity in NYC

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The New York City Health Department has recently released information that they have detected West Nile Virus in several areas of New York City. The number of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus is unusually high at this point in the season.

“This summer it is especially important to take simple personal steps to reduce exposure to mosquitoes, especially for persons 50 years or older. The best way to reduce risk is to wear repellent outdoors in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active,” advised Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner.

Some people experience only mild flu-like symptoms after contracting West Nile Virus, but the infection can cause meningitis or encephalitis, which can result in potentially fatal inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.

West Nile Virus is spread to mosquitoes, so to reduce the threat of exposure take the following steps:

– Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.

– Make sure windows have screens.

If you think you have symptoms of West Nile Virus, see your doctor right away. The most common symptoms are headache, fever and extreme fatigue. For more information about West Nile Virus, and how to avoid it, visit the Health Department website at www.nyc.gov/health or call 311.