No human cases of the virus have been reported this year, but the city's health commissioner urged people to use insect repellent to protect themselves and report areas with standing water, which can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
"New Yorkers can take a few simple steps to protect themselves this summer, including by wearing insect repellent or covering their arms and legs," Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a statement. "We also encourage everyone to remove any standing water that may harbor mosquitoes or call 311 for standing water they cannot manage themselves."
The virus' symptoms include headache, fever, muscle aches and extreme fatigue, but 80% of people with West Nile virus don't exhibit symptoms. The majority of people who become infected with the virus recover, but for some people– particularly older people or those with weakened immune systems– the virus can cause a deadly infection of the brain and spinal cord.
We have detected mosquitoes with West Nile virus in NYC. The infected mosquitoes were collected in the Bronx and on Staten Island. No human cases have been reported, but New Yorkers should take precautions, such as wearing insect repellent. Learn more: https://t.co/E0tkAA04NZ pic.twitter.com/ltXvd1oDWH— nychealthy (@nycHealthy) July 14, 2020
West Nile virus was first detected in New York City in 1999, and since then has infected between three and 47 people each year, according to health department officials. Thirteen percent of the 353 people who have experienced neuroinvasive West Nile virus disease in the city have died.
Using insect repellent on your body and screens on your windows can help reduce the risk, as well as keeping gutters, pools and hot tubs clean and chlorinated.