If you're planning on spending any time outdoors, you might want to take precautions to protect yourself because the West Nile virus has been detected in New York for the first time in 2023.

Get our free mobile app

According to the New York Post, a New Jersey resident who was infected with the West Nile virus has died as a result of the illness. West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The victim is the first confirmed human fatality in New Jersey who had tested positive for the virus this year.

West Nile virus-carrying mosquitos haven't sequestered themselves in New Jersey. They've now migrated to New York.

To date this year, 16 people have been diagnosed with West Nile virus disease in New York City however, there have been no fatalities in New York. According to NYC Health, the cases of West Nile discovered in New York City are the first discovered cases of the year in New York.

Health officials warn that mosquito activity is heightened in September and that all New Yorkers must take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and minimize their risk of contracting the West Nile virus.

How to Prevent West Nile Virus

The Health Department says that all New Yorkers can take simple steps to reduce their risk, such as using EPA-registered insect repellent, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitos carrying the virus are most active. New Yorkers are also encouraged to empty outdoor containers that hold water because standing water provides a breeding ground for mosquitos.

West Nile Virus Symptoms and Risks

Most people infected with West Nile Virus either show no symptoms or experience mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches, rash, and fatigue. While the majority of infected people fully recover, there can be cases of long-term complications. People who are over 60 years old or have weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing a more severe and potentially fatal illness known as West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND).

The Importance of Using Insect Repellent

Shockingly, it's been discovered that most people infected with West Nile virus didn't use repellent or take necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. To protect yourself, you should use an EPA-approved insect repellent that contains picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.

How to Reduce Exposure to Mosquitoes

In addition to using insect repellents, you can make sure that your windows all have screens installed that are free of years and holes, eliminate any standing water on your property, keep your gutters cleaned and drained, and clean pools and hot tubs with chlorine or keep them covered when not using them.

Quiz: Do you know your state insect?

Stacker has used a variety of sources to compile a list of the official state insect(s) of each U.S. state, as well as their unique characteristics. Read on to see if you can guess which insect(s) represent your state. 

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.