Tuesday, June 24, 2008

West Nile virus found in Staten Island

BY Kathleen Lucadamo

The West Nile Virus was discovered among a pool of mosquitoes in Port Richmond, Staten Island, on Wednesday for the first time this season, Health Department officials said Friday.

No human cases have been detected, but the virus surfaced earlier than usual, officials said.

The city will spray larvicide in wooded and abandoned areas of Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens next week to kill the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The potentially deadly virus usually causes mild flu-like symptoms, and people over 50 who contract West Nile are the most vulnerable to its effects.

"Fortunately, anyone can avoid infection. The best way to reduce your risk is to wear repellent if you go outdoors in the evening when mosquitoes are most active," said Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden.

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