First Human Case of West Nile Virus Reported in Rockland County

Rockland County learned this week of its first human case of West Nile Virus, which was recently diagnosed in a 50-year-old resident.

“West Nile Virus has had a presence in our county since 1999, in the bird and mosquito population. We are grateful that our first documented human case was a mild infection and our resident is doing well,” said Dr. Joan H. Facelle, Rockland County Commissioner of Health. “We especially encourage our residents to take the proper precautions to reduce their risk of infection both at home as well as when traveling outside of the County.”

A bite from an infected mosquito can spread West Nile Virus. Many people who contract the virus don’t know they have it because 80 percent experience no symptoms. However up to 20 percent of those infected develop mild symptoms including fever, headaches, body aches and possibly a skin rash or swollen lymph glands.

As the fall season approaches, the county expects the likelihood of more transmission of illness to be reduced. Residents should continue to do their part by taking personal protection measures and removing standing water where mosquitoes can breed.

To date, 667 mosquito samples were submitted for testing to the New York State Department of Health, and 175 of these samples, ounty-wide, tested positive for the West Nile Virus.