Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus detected in New York City, Health Department issues warning

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus detected in New York City, Health Department issues warning

According to the New York Health Department, mosquitoes carrying the potentially deadly West Nile Virus have been identified across New York City. Mosquitoes tested in Queens, neighborhoods in Staten Island and Brooklyn were found to be infected with the virus.

There have been no human cases reported in New York City this year, but as of July 9, one case was reported in New Jersey and 39 across the US. The West Nile Virus is potentially fatal and has claimed the lives of 38 New Yorkers since it was first detected in the city in 1999, according to the Health Department.

The potentially fatal virus was found in 61 mosquito pools across Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn, compared to 243 during the same time last year. This is the first time that they have been detected this year. 

According to Patch, Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot has urged citizens to protect themselves. "We want New Yorkers to enjoy the outdoors this summer," said "But we also want people to protect themselves against mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent and covering their arms and legs." 

According to the Health Department's website, it causes encephalitis, which is the inflammation of the brain or meningitis, the inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It is not contagious from one human to another and can only be spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito carries the virus after biting birds that may have the virus. Often scavenger birds like hawks also become infected after eating the remains of an infected bird. 

"You or your child cannot get West Nile Virus from a person who has the disease. West Nile Virus is not spread by person-to-person contact such as touching, kissing, or caring for someone who is infected," the website stated. The Department has urged New Yorkers to reduce the presence of mosquitos in their surroundings and to safely use insect repellent.


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