Huntington Resident Has First Case of West Nile Virus This Season

A Huntington resident has been found to have Suffolk County’s first case of West Nile virus this season.

Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services Dr. Gregson Pigott said that rhe individual, who is over the age of 50, was hospitalized in late August with symptoms consistent with West Nile virus disease and remains hospitalized.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. About 20 percent of those who become infected will develop noticeable symptoms of West Nile virus disease. Mild symptoms may include fever, headache and body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. West Nile virus can be fatal.

Residents who experience symptoms are advised to visit their healthcare providers.  While there is no specific treatment for West Nile virus, patients may be offered supportive therapy as needed.

Individuals who are most at risk for severe infection include those over 50 years of age and those with chronic illness or compromised immune systems. Suffolk County residents are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes during mosquito season, which extends from June 1 through Nov. 1.

The number of human cases of West Nile virus varies each year. Suffolk County reported five human cases in 2020, three in 2019, and 11 in 2018. The county reported 25 human cases in 2010, a year in which the virus claimed three lives. Suffolk County also reported two deaths from West Nile virus in 2017.

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