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The New York City Department of Health announced Tuesday that the West Nile virus was discovered in two people as the population of infected mosquitoes hits a new high.
Two human cases have been reported as the city’s five boroughs deal with 1,068 mosquito pools that have tested positive for the virus, according to the city’s health department. Compared to last year, NYC had a West Nile virus pool of 779.
Typically the the virus is transmitted to humans when an infected mosquito bites an individual, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These mosquitoes are generally present in the city from July to October, with peak activity in August and September.
One case was reported in Brooklyn, while the other individual was present in Queens. So far this year, the United States has recorded 54 total cases, resulting in four deaths.
“We are at the height of West Nile virus season, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of being bitten,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the city health commissioner. “Use an EPA-registered insect repellent, wear long sleeves and long pants, especially outdoors at dusk and dawn when the types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV are most active. mosquitoes from laying eggs in water by emptying outdoor containers that hold water or call 311 if you see standing water that you cannot empty. Help keep you and your loved ones safe with to these actions during the WNV season.
There is currently no vaccine for the virus, so preventative measures such as insect repellent, wearing long clothing and avoiding standing pools of water can help reduce exposure. Symptoms of West Nile virus can include body aches, rashes, fatigue, and fever.
About 80% of individuals show no symptoms of the disease and only 1% develop severe disease, according to the CDC.
Although NYC has over 40 species of mosquitoes, West Nile virus is generally transmitted by the various Culex species, such as the Culex saltwort and Culex pipiens, according to the city health department.