HARRISON, N.Y. - David Tolve and his friends sat in the grass at Ma Riis Park in downtown Harrison after the weekend rain subsided. Though it seemed to be a peak time for mosquito threats, Tolve said he wasn't too worried about West Nile virus.
"I've heard about it," Tolve said. "I'm wearing spray, but otherwise not really concerned."
Friend and classmate at Harrison High School Carlye Uretta said she would be more careful if she was more aware of the potential threat.
"I'm not really sure what it is," Uretta said. "If it could kill me, then I'm going to start worrying."
West Nile, a type of virus known as flavivirus, was identified in 1937 in Uganda. It was discovered in the United States, in New York, in the summer of 1999 and since then has spread throughout the United States.
West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes have been confirmed in cities and town in Connecticut and Westchester County. The disease is most common during August and early September, which is when mosquitoes carrying the highest amounts of the virus are abundant.
As the weather cools, mosquitoes die off and the risk of infection decreases.
Those who do become infected with West Nile virus might experience minor symptoms, such as low-grade fever and mild headache. They also might not experience any symptoms at all.
Less than one percent of the people sickened develop life-threatening illnesses, such as West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis that include inflammation of the brain, the CDC said.
The mild signs and symptoms of West Nile virus infection (fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue) generally go away on their own, but severe signs and symptoms severe headache, disorientation, lack of coordination, convulsions, tremors or sudden weakness -- require immediate attention.
The CDC states relatively few reports of infection in dogs and cats. Check with your veterinarian about how to protect them from mosquitoes.
Tolve and his friends still seemed unphased by the threat as they sat in the park with grass all around them.
"We're killing all the bugs we see," he said.
E-mail town reporter Phil Corso at PCorso@TheDailyHarrison.com.
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