The third case of West Nile virus has been reported in Suffolk County, according to Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services Dr. James Tomarken.
A Smithtown resident who is under 60 years old began displaying symptoms consistent with the virus in September and is undergoing recovery in a rehabilitation center, Dr. Tomarken said.
The previous two cases of West Nile virus seen this season were reported in September. Two residents from Islip developed symptoms in August and are recovering at their homes.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Experts say about one in five of those who contract the virus develop noticeable symptoms including a fever, headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash.
There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus; patients are treated on an as-needed basis with supportive therapy.
Suffolk County’s recent history of West Nile virus reports is as follows:
- 2018: 11 cases
- 2017: Seven cases
- 2016 and 2015: Five cases
- 2014: One case
- 2013: Five cases
- 2012: 14 cases
- 2011: Four cases
- 2010: 25 cases
“There is no discernible trend,” said Dr. Tomarken. “We know only about the cases in which the patient sought treatment and we received laboratory confirmation of West Nile virus. There may be many more residents who acquired West Nile virus, but we never learned about them because they didn’t seek medical attention or they sought attention but lab tests weren’t ordered.”
Residents are urged to take precautions during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. Using insect repellents, wearing long sleeves and pants and eliminating standing water from outdoor areas (clogged gutters, recycle bins, birdbaths, swimming pools, etc.) can help to keep mosquito populations at bay.
To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
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