2 people hospitalized in New York City after mosquito bites left them with life-threatening West Nile virus

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West Nile virus sickened at least two people in New York City this summer.
City health officials have detected a record number of infected mosquitoes that are spreading the virus.
Most people infected with WNV don't get sick, but older people are at higher risk of serious illness.
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Two people in New York City have been hospitalized with West Nile virus, a disease that can cause life-threatening swelling in and around the brain.
The city's health department announced the hospitalizations on Tuesday, adding that a record number of New York mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus in recent weeks. Health officials did not elaborate on the condition of the patients, but said one case is in Brooklyn and the other is in Queens.
West Nile virus, which has killed at least four people this year, is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people get bitten by infected mosquitoes and never get sick, but in some cases the virus can cause life-threatening swelling in and around the brain.
In New York City, West Nile virus activity is rising in all five boroughs with a total of 1,068 positive mosquito pools (i.e. a bunch of mosquitoes tested as a group) compared to 779 positive pools at this time last year.
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There could also be a greater number of mosquitoes active in New York City this summer -- an average of 77 mosquitoes were caught in each trap per day, compared to 75 mosquitoes per trap per day during the same testing period in 2021.
Mosquito season in New York typically lasts from July to October, with peak activity occurring in August and September. As mosquitoes continue to pose a disease threat, health officials recommend taking steps to avoid bites.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever and an altered mental state
Those over 60 and those with compromised immune systems should take extra care to avoid mosquito bites, as they are at higher risk of developing severe West Nile Virus disease.
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According to the CDC, about 1 in 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop a serious condition that affects the brain or spinal cord -- that rate is three times higher in people aged 60 and older.
While older people are at greater risk of developing symptoms such as muscle weakness, altered mental status, or even paralysis or death, anyone can get West Nile virus disease. About one in five infected people report fever, muscle pain, and fatigue that can last for weeks or months.
Wear an EPA-registered insect repellent
Most New Yorkers diagnosed with West Nile virus disease report not using insect repellent or taking other precautions to prevent mosquito bites, according to state health officials.
"We are at the peak of the West Nile virus season but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of being bitten," said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan in the press release.
New York City health officials recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants to avoid mosquito bites, especially when spending time outdoors at dusk and dawn.
Also, empty stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed, or call 311 if you see stagnant water that you can't empty, the city's health commissioner said.
Read the original article on Insider
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