November 14, 2013
Health Commissioner Reports Fourth Human Case of West
Nile Virus this Year
Suffolk County Commissioner of
Health Services James Tomarken reported today that there has been fourth
confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Suffolk County in 2013. A male from the Town of Smithtown who
is over 50 years of age was ill with fever, chills, and fatigue in September.
He was never hospitalized and has recovered.
Previously this year, the county
reported three confirmed cases of West Nile virus, two from the Town of
Brookhaven and one from the Town of Huntington. All three individuals were over
the age of 50, and all had been hospitalized and were in recovery.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by the
bite of an infected mosquito. According to Dr. Tomarken, most people
infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, though about one in five will
develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains,
vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than one percent of those who are
infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or
meningitis. Symptoms of neurologic illness include headache, high fever, neck
stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.
People over the age of 50 are at
higher risk for encephalitis. The reasons one person becomes severely ill and
another doesn't aren't entirely known.
Residents who have the symptoms
of West Nile infection are advised to see a healthcare professional.
residents are encouraged to reduce the mosquito population around their
homes by eliminating stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.
For medical questions related to
West Nile virus, residents may call the Department of Health Services at