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Rockland officials have reported the first case of a human being infected with West Nile virus in the county in 2022.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert reported the discovery in a joint announcement Thursday.
The patient is over 50 years old and lives in Ramapo, they said.
“This human case of West Nile virus reinforces the urgency of the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to continue to check their property and get rid of standing water around their properties where mosquitoes breed,” Ruppert said.
Rockland’s first human case of West Nile virus in 2021 also happened in October.
Ruppert said some mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn when the air is calm, and the females are most likely to bite.
“However, other mosquitoes will feed at any time of the day,” she added. “To protect yourself from bites, use insect repellent when spending time outdoors.”
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A bite from a mosquito infected with West Nile virus can cause serious illness, and in some cases death. Although a person’s chance of getting sick is small, and not everyone infected with West Nile virus will become ill, those 50 and older have the highest risk of serious illness.
West Nile virus can cause serious complications, including neurological diseases, and can also cause a milder, flu-like illness, including fever, headache and body aches, nausea and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
Anyone who has symptoms of West Nile virus should see a doctor right away.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, where they hatch into larvae that develop in the water for seven to 10 days before emerging as adult mosquitoes that fly and bite. Many mosquitoes that can spread disease lay their eggs in items around the home, including birdbaths, unused flower pots, discarded tires and even bottle caps, as well as in small ponds and other bodies of stagnant water.
To reduce your risk of being bitten, experts recommend taking several steps, officials said:
Officials added that the best and most effective mosquito control begins in your yard. Even the smallest amount of standing water can serve as a breeding site for mosquitoes. Eliminating standing water is the first step in reducing mosquito breeding, according to officials, who recommended these measures:
To learn more about reducing mosquito breeding on your property, call the Health Department at 845-364-3173 or visit rocklandgov.com. To learn more about the West Nile virus, visit health.ny.gov.
Mike Randall covers breaking news for the Times Herald-Record, the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Journal News/lohud. Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @MikeRandall845.
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