Just a day after reporting West Nile virus (WNV) mosquito pools in the Central New York county, the New York State Health Department laboratory notified Onondaga County Interim Health Commissioner, Michelle Mignano Friday of the first known  human case of West Nile virus this year in Onondaga County. 

Culex mosquito
Culex quinquefasciatus

Ms. Mignano reports that the adult was hospitalized and is doing well and is expected to recover.  Mignano reinforced, “With this first known human case of West Nile virus this year, it underscores that West Nile virus is active and residents are urged to consistently take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.  Even though the mosquito counts continue to be relatively low, it is important that the public continue to practice personal protection measures and keep your yard free from standing water to reduce the mosquito population until we have a hard frost.”

Mignano also reassured that mosquito surveillance and the application of larvicides will continue throughout Onondaga County with heightened focus on areas with known findings of both West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness.

The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

Since first seen in the United States in 1999, over 37,000 WNV disease cases have been reported to the CDC, and this number likely underestimates the total number of infections. In addition to the human toll, an analysis published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH) in February shows that hospitalized cases of WNV disease have cost a cumulative $778 million in health care expenditures and lost productivity over a 14 year period. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page