A Brooklyn man, in his 60’s, is the first human West Nile virus (WNV) case of the year, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene via CBS News today.
It is reported that the individual has been treated and discharged from a local hospital.
“This first case of West Nile virus disease in New York City provides a vital reminder to protect ourselves against mosquito bites,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.
City health officials, who have been monitoring the West Nile situation, have reported 287 WNV mosquito pools thus far, with positive pools reported from all the boroughs with the exception of Manhattan.
Queens, which has reported 121 positive mosquito pools, is scheduled for mosquito spraying in the following neighborhoods tomorrow: Parts of Blissville, Sunnyside, Flushing, Astoria, Ditrmars, Steinway, Woodside, Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Oakland Gardens, Briarwood, Forest Hills, Forest Hills Gardens, Glendale, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, and Woodhaven.
West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 when New York reported 62 human cases, and has since spread across the continental United States and Canada.
What are the symptoms of West Nile virus disease? The CDC breaks it down by severity:
No symptoms in most people. Most people (70-80%) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.
Febrile illness in some people. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptomssuch as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
Severe symptoms in a few people. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). Thesymptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.
Recovery from severe disease may take several weeks or months. Some of the neurologic effects may be permanent. About 10 percent of people who develop neurologic infection due to West Nile virus will die.
People over 60 years of age are at the greatest risk for severe disease. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk for serious illness.
As of August 11, 2015, a total of 42 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2015. Overall, 141 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC.
Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today