Suffolk County, NY - October 23th, 2013 - Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services James Tomarken reported today that there has been second confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Suffolk County in 2013. The individual, who is over 50 years of age and resides in the Town of Brookhaven, became ill in September with symptoms consistent with West Nile virus. The person was hospitalized for about a month and is currently recovering in a rehabilitation facility.
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.
All 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 631-854-0333.