“We’re in the height of West Nile virus season, but there are things you can do to lower your risk of being bitten,” Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan. said in a statement.
Since the virus is typical transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoesVasan suggested using a EPA registered contraindication insectwearing long sleeves and trousers – especially when outside at dawn or dusk when insects are most active – and not allowing water to collect in any outdoor containers.
“Help keep you and your loved ones safe with these actions during WNV season,” Vasan added.
West Nile virus was first seen in New York City more than 20 years ago—it spread mostly to several Culex mosquito species, incl Culex salinarius AND Culex pipiens, according to information from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
This year, 1,068 positive mosquito pools were detected in the city, compared to 779 at the same time last year, the health department said.
“An average of 77 mosquitoes were caught in each trap per day, compared to 75 mosquitoes per trap per day for the same period in 2021. Once trapped, large numbers of mosquitoes are then tested in a single pooled sample or ‘swimming pool’. “, the health officials clarify in the statement.
Unlike many other diseases, West Nile virus it is not widespread through droplets or skin-to-skin contact, but through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Most people who contract the disease do not experience symptoms, but some do may develop feverheadaches, body aches and intestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most patients make a full recovery, although it may take weeks or even months, the CDC said.
In rare but serious cases, a small number of people can develop complications such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord), which can be fatal, according to the CDC.
Even rarer, another mosquito-borne disease, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), was recently discovered in mosquitoes in New York. Pools infested with mosquitoes have been found in Madison County AND in Oswego County, but no human cases have been reported, according to surveillance data. The virus, which causes inflammation of the brain, can be serious — about 30 percent of those infected die, and many who survive go on to suffer long-term neurological complications. According to the CDC.
There are no vaccines to prevent West Nile virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and there are no specific antiviral medications to treat them. Patients with these mosquito-borne illnesses are given supportive care and treated for any potential complications.
Those experiencing symptoms are encouraged to contact their health care providers.