Seventh Case of West Nile Virus in Suffolk County

Dr. James Tomarken, the Suffolk Commissioner of Health Services, reported a new human case of West Nile virus in Suffolk County on Monday.

A resident of the Town of Islip, who is under the age of 50, began experiencing symptoms associated with West Nile virus in late September, was subsequently hospitalized, and is currently recuperating in a rehabilitation facility, according to a statement issued by the county.

To date this year, Suffolk has reported seven cases of West Nile virus, two of which resulted in death. Of the seven cases, two of the patients resided in the Town of Brookhaven, two in the Town of Smithtown, two in the Town of Islip, and one in the Town of Babylon.

"In northern climates we receive a reprieve from mosquitoes during the colder months," Dr. Tomarken said in the statement, "and it is during these months that we ask our residents to resolve to adopt new habits during mosquito season. We urge residents to use mosquito repellants before going outdoors and to continually empty containers that hold water. This practice is especially important for people over 50 years of age and those with chronic illness or compromised immune systems who are most at risk for severe infection."

Approximately 20 percent of people who become infected with West Nile virus will develop clinically noticeable symptoms of the disease, according to Dr. Tomarken. 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.

Residents who experience symptoms are advised to visit their health care providers promptly. While there is no specific treatment for West Nile virus, patients are treated with supportive therapy as needed.

Individuals who have medical questions related to West Nile virus can call the Department of Health Services at 631-854-0333. To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works' Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.