West Nile Virus has been detected in New York, in both mosquitoes and humans. West Nile Virus is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. The virus can be very mild for some people or potentially deadly for others.

What is West Nile Virus?

According to the New York Department of Health,

West Nile Virus Disease is spread by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. The infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals. In humans, WNV may cause a mild illness but may also cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

World's Largest Mosquito Factory Aims To Prevent Zika
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Mosquitoes kill 1 million people per year

New York State is home to 70 species of mosquitos and they are active now through October. They carry several types of potentially deadly viruses that can be transmitted to humans, which is what makes them killers. According to Laura Harrington, a professor of entomology at Cornell University,

Mosquito season generally lasts from the end of April and into October in New York state, but mosquitoes may emerge before April if the spring climate is unusually warm. Unfortunately, mosquito season has been starting earlier and ending later in northern temperate regions due to warming global temperatures.

Health Officials Expect Active West Nile Season
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Where Was West Nile Virus Detected In New York State

On Thursday, August 18, 2022, the New York City Health Department announced that West Nile Virus has been detected in two people in Brooklyn and Queens. The department also warns that a record number of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes have been found in all five boroughs. August and September are peak months for West Nile virus activity. While not always deadly, West Nile Virus can be fatal. There have been 54 cases in the United States this year with 6 deaths. NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said,

We are in the height of West Nile virus season, but there are things you can do to decrease your risk of being bitten. Use an EPA registered insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, especially when outside at dusk and dawn when the types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV are most active. In addition, you can stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water by emptying outdoor containers that hold water or calling 311 if you see standing water that you cannot empty. Help keep you and your loved ones safe with these actions during WNV season.

 

A Potentially Deadly Virus Spread By Mosquitoes Found In New York State

West Nile Virus is not the only mosquito-borne virus that has been detected in New York recently. A rare, but dangerous virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes has been discovered in New York State. The Madison County Health Department announced on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, that it found positive samples of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus in mosquitoes in the county. The sample was found on August 3, at a trap site on Smith Ridge Road in the Town of Sullivan. The mosquito that was carrying it is a bird-biting species.

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Madison County Public Health Director Eric Faisst wants people to help prevent bites,

Residents should take steps at home to prevent mosquito bites. Avoiding mosquito bites is the single best thing to do. Apply insect repellent when you are outside and limit outside activity between dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. We live in areas where mosquitoes thrive and cannot be eliminated, so we must be vigilant with our personal protection.

The symptoms of encephalitis infections include sudden high fever, muscle pains, and a headache. If you experience any symptoms, contact medical personnel immediately.

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