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Department of Behavioral & Community Health

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October 4, 2012        Print version


Cases of West Nile Virus in Dutchess County

Dutchess County Department of Health announced today, Human West Nile Virus has been identified in at least two Dutchess County residents.

“West Nile virus (WNV) or West Nile encephalitis is only transmitted through mosquitoes, not through human contact,” said Dutchess County Commissioner of Health, Michael C. Caldwell, MD, MPH.  “It can cause serious illness, and in some cases, death. Although a person's chances of getting sick are small, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:

  • Minimizing outdoor activities between dusk and dawn,
  • Wearing shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are more active, and
  • Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.

Most susceptible to West Nile Virus are infants, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems. Many who are infected with the West Nile virus will not have any type of illness. Symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. In many individuals, these symptoms are so mild they go unnoticed or undetected. The symptoms of severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and coma.

With the recent rains creating optimal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, Caldwell reminds residents to take steps to reduce mosquitoes:

  • Disposing tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water holding containers.
  • Removing all discarded tires on your property.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters this fall.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Change the water in bird baths every few days.
  • Clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate stagnant water that collects on your property.

The Department of Health’s West Nile Virus Information, 845-486-3438, is available twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week to provide information on what homeowners can do to help reduce the number of mosquitoes as well as personal precautions they can take to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Detailed information regarding mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases may also be found on the DCDOH’s page of Dutchess County's website at http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Health/HDwnv.htm.

 

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A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH,Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH
Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health
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