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Health Dept.: First Case of West Nile Virus Appears in New Hyde Park Woman

West Nile Virus Found in Mosquitoes

Throughout Nassau County

The Nassau County Department of Health reported the first confirmed case of West Nile virus in a Nassau County resident this year. The individual is a 66-year-old woman who lives in New Hyde Park. She became ill on July 5 with symptoms including headache, weakness, fever and blurry vision and is now resting at home, the Department of Health said. This is the first human case of West Nile virus in Nassau County and in New York State in 2010.

The Department of Health announced last week that mosquitoes from seven different locations in Nassau County tested positive for West Nile virus.

The first of the samples of Culex pipiens-restuans mosquitoes was collected from a Bethpage location on June 30, testing positive for the virus.

The other samples, reported by the Health Department a few days after the initial report, were collected on July 6 in Valley Stream, July 7 in the Massapequa Preserve (from two pools) Merrick and Wantagh, and July 9 in Westbury. The test results from all the pools of mosquitoes were confirmed by the State Department of Health.

These are the first findings of WNV so far this year.

The county Health Department and Public Works Department will continue their mosquito control efforts by inspecting breeding sites and, when necessary, applying larvicide.

Mosquito surveillance will continue at 42 trap sites located throughout the county, and will be intensified in the Valley Stream, Massapequa, Merrick, Wantagh, Westbury and Bethpage areas.

Nassau County has said they have no plans to spray for adult mosquitoes at this time.

Because West Nile virus is present throughout New York State and beyond, and the primary carrier of WNV in Nassau County is Culex pipiens-restuans, or “the house mosquito,” which does not fly more than 200 feet from its breeding site, residents are urged to take precautions around their homes by preventing pools of water from forming, wearing insect repellent, installing window and door screens and keeping swimming pools chlorinated and covered when not in use.

According to the Center for Disease Control, people should watch out for symptoms of West Nile infection, whose incubation period is two to 15 days.

Those symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.

The CDC cautioned however, that people infected with West Nile virus can sometimes have no symptoms. West Nile fever and more severely, West Nile disease are the ones to watch out for.

The CDC estimates that about 20 percent of people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever.

The symptoms of severe disease, also called neuroinvasive disease, include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. The CDC estimates that about 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with WNV.

The CDC says four out of five people who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop any type of illness, however the CDC cautions that those infected cannot know what sort of reaction they will have.