Two human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in New York as the pathogen was detected in a record number of mosquitoes in the city, health officials said Tuesday.
In the city’s five boroughs, 1,068 mosquitoes tested positive for the virus, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The metropolis recorded 779 outbreaks as positive in the same period last year.
The two human cases were reported in Brooklyn and Queens, the health department said in a statement.
West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, especially those of the Culex genus, popularly known as mosquitoes or muriçocas.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these cases happen during the mosquito season, which begins in the summer and continues through the fall in the Northern Hemisphere.
“We are in the height of the West Nile virus season, but there are things you can do to lower your risk of being bitten,” said New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan.
Using an insect repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves, especially when you’re out in the middle of the night, can help you avoid the risk of being bitten, Vasan explained.
There is no vaccine for the virus, so preventive measures are the most effective way to avoid infection.
Symptoms of West Nile infection include fatigue, fever, headache, body aches, and skin rashes. However, 80% of infected people have no symptoms, according to the CDC.
In rare cases, the virus can also be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants, laboratory exposure, or from mother to child.
Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious neuroinvasive disease, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord), according to CDC data.
As of August 9, a total of 54 human cases of the virus illness have been reported to the CDC this year. Last year, 2,695 human cases were reported to the US agency.
Source: CNN Brasil