Aug 17, 2022 - Health

West Nile virus detected in 2 people in NYC amid surge in infected mosquitoes

Photo of a mosquito in a cup
Culex pipiens, a common mosquito species, is seen under a microscope. Photo: Jon Cherry via Getty Images

The West Nile virus has been detected in two people in New York City, local health authorities said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The city's health department is warning residents to be alert and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites amid a record number of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes across all five boroughs.

Details: West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes are typically present in the city from July through October, with peak activity in August and September.

  • The virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. Most people who are infected have no symptoms.
  • Roughly 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms such as headaches and extreme fatigue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The majority of people who are infected fully recover from the illness, but about 1 in 150, especially those 60 and older or those with weakened immune systems, can develop a potentially fatal illness called the West Nile neuroinvasive disease, which can cause comas and muscle weakness.
  • The two reported human cases were located in Brooklyn and Queens, city officials said. A total of 54 cases and four deaths have been reported in the U.S. this year.

The big picture: The virus was first detected in New York City over 20 years ago.

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