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Shutterstock/Alexander Penyushkin
Shutterstock/Alexander Penyushkin

The Health Department on Friday, August 11 confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus this year.

According to the agency, the patient, though having underlying medical conditions, is less than 50 years old and is currently in serious condition at a Manhattan hospital.

The season’s first human case comes after the number of mosquito pools testing positive for West Nile have reached a record high of 337 contaminated “pools,” or collections of mosquitoes captured in a surveillance trap, that have tested positive.

This, DOH says, could indicate a greater risk of infection and may result in a larger number of human cases than in previous years, the bulk of which are typically detected between late July and October.

In addition, DOH said, the majority of the positive samples have been detected on Staten Island, though, as always, mosquitoes with the disease have been found in every borough.

“The findings from our mosquito surveillance are concerning and serve as a reminder for all New Yorkers that they can take simple precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites: wear mosquito repellent, cover your arms and legs when you are outdoors, get rid of standing water, and install window screens,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “We will not be able to completely eradicate West Nile virus from the mosquito population, but we can reduce human transmission and save lives.”

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