Brooklyn Boro

Four human cases of West Nile virus detected in New York

September 12, 2019 Noah Goldberg
The NYC Health Department will be spraying for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Brooklyn and Queens Thursday night. But what is in that spray, and is it safe to breathe? AP file photo by Rick Bowmer

Four human cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus have been detected in New York City, with one of the patients in Brooklyn, according to Health Department officials.

The potentially deadly virus is down in mosquito pools by 66 percent from last year, when 36 New Yorkers contracted the virus, city officials said.

“The findings from our mosquito and human surveillance serve as a reminder for all New Yorkers that they should take simple precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot. “Actions such as wearing mosquito repellent, covering arms and legs when outdoors, discarding standing water, and installing window screens can reduce the human transmission of West Nile virus and save lives.”

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Two of the people who contracted the disease have been released from the hospital and two remain hospitalized. Their conditions were not disclosed.

To combat the virus, the Health Department has deployed trucks to fan out an aerial misting of pesticides to kill mosquitos carrying West Nile virus.

The virus is contracted through mosquito bites, and can be given to humans, horses, birds and other mammals. Most people have no reaction to bites from mosquitos bearing the virus, or get a “mild to moderate” illness, according to the Health Department.

Symptoms related to a severe contraction of West Nile virus include high fevers, tremors and shakes, confusion and potentially comas.

The West Nile virus season generally lasts from the end of July to October, according to the city. Since 1999, it has killed 46 New Yorkers.

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