Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services Dr. Gregson Pigott today reported two additional cases of West Nile virus in Suffolk County. To date this year, Suffolk County has reported seven cases of West Nile virus.
The first of the two new cases is a Town of Southold resident who is over the age of 50. The resident became ill with West Nile virus in early October, was hospitalized in mid-October, and has almost fully recovered at home. The second of the two cases is a Town of Brookhaven resident who became ill in late October and remains hospitalized.
Health officials have previously reported five cases of West Nile virus this season, two from the Town of Huntington, two from the Town of Brookhaven, and one from the Town of Babylon. The two Huntington residents were over the age of 50 and the others were under the age of 50.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is estimated that 20 percent of those who become infected will develop clinically noticeable symptoms of West Nile virus disease. Mild symptoms may include fever, headache and body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. West Nile virus can be fatal. Residents who experience symptoms are advised to visit their healthcare providers. While there is no specific treatment for West Nile virus, patients may be offered supportive therapy as needed.
Individuals who are most at risk for severe infection include those over 50 years of age and those with chronic illness or compromised immune systems. Suffolk County residents are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes during mosquito season, which extends from June 1 through November 1.
The number of human cases of West Nile virus varies each year. Suffolk County reported five human cases in 2020, three in 2019, and 11 in 2018. Comparatively, the county reported 25 human cases in 2010, a year in which the virus claimed three lives. Suffolk County also reported two deaths from West Nile virus in 2017.
“Mosquito season ended on November 1, but now is a perfect time for Suffolk County residents to repair screens, clean yards, and make solid plans to reduce the number areas where mosquitoes can breed around their homes in order to avoid being bitten and contracting mosquito-borne illness,” said Dr. Gregson Pigott.
For more information about mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus, visit the Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ website.