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Fourth case of West Nile virus reported in Suffolk County, official says

Residents are urged to remove standing water where mosquitos can breed and use insect repellent through Nov. 1.

The Asian tiger mosquito can transmit West Nile

The Asian tiger mosquito can transmit West Nile virus. Photo Credit: Science Source Images

A fourth person was stricken with the West Nile virus in Suffolk, and the patient, who lives in the Town of Islip, was released after a short hospitalization, the county health department said on Tuesday.

The patient, who fell ill on Sept. 1, was younger than 55, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services Dr. James Tomarken said in a statement.

Individuals who are most at risk from the possibly fatal virus, which is carried by infected mosquitoes, are older than 55 or who have chronic health problems or compromised immune systems.

Suffolk health officials said last week there were two other cases of West Nile, one in the Town of Huntington and one in the Town of Smithtown. Those two individuals, both older than 55, have recovered, Tomarken said.

On Sept. 12, the county said a patient who lives in Babylon and is older than 55 was hospitalized on Aug. 19. That individual has not been released, he said.

About 20 percent of people infected with West Nile develop symptoms, Tomarken said.

Mild symptoms can be fever, headache and body aches, a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

Symptoms in more severe cases can include high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

Supportive care can help those stricken, said Tomarken, who urged people who experience these symptoms to seek medical treatment. There is no specific treatment for the virus.

Tomarken urged residents to remove standing water, where mosquitoes could breed. If they are among the at-risk groups, he said they should take extra precautions, like using insect repellent, from June 1 through Nov. 1.

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