First human case of West Nile virus in Rockland this season

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NEW CITY – The season’s first human case of West Nile virus this season in a county resident has been reported by Rockland County officials.

The patient lives in Ramapo, is over the age of 50, and tested positive for the illness.

That human case “reinforces the urgency of the need for people to protect themselves against mosquito bites and to continue to check their property and get rid of standing water around their properties where mosquitoes breed,” said County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert. “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. To protect yourself from bites, use insect repellents when spending time outdoors.”

Most mosquitoes do not test positive for the disease-causing virus; however, a bite from a West Nile virus-infected mosquito can cause serious illness, and in some cases, death.

Health officials said although a person’s chances of getting sick are small, those 50 and older are at the highest risk for 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.

If you think you have symptoms of West Nile virus, you are advised to see your doctor right away.