First human case of West Nile confirmed in Suffolk

The first human case of West Nile virus

The first human case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in Suffolk County, health officials said. (Sept. 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Science Source Images

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The first human case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in Suffolk County, health officials said Thursday, bringing to three the total number of Long Island cases this year.

A man over 50 living in the Town of Brookhaven was hospitalized in August for five days, has recovered and now is at home, according to a news release from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

Nassau's two confirmed cases involved a man older than 50 from the Town of Hempstead and a woman older than 60 from the Town of Oyster Bay, both of whom were hospitalized and are recovering, health officials said.

Some mosquito bites can transmit West Nile to humans, with mosquitoes picking up the virus by feeding on infected birds.

Suffolk has reported 158 mosquito samples and four birds testing positive for West Nile virus, with Nassau reporting 32 positive mosquito samples.

Nationally, last year ranked as the second-worst in terms of West Nile cases since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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Nassau and Suffolk counties reported 14 human cases each last year, including one Nassau death.

Most people infected with the virus experience mild or no symptoms, with some developing "severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis," said James Tomarken, Suffolk County commissioner of health services. Most at risk are those over 50 or those with compromised immune systems, he said, and those people "are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes."

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