Health officials reported Tuesday that two human cases of West Nile virus had been reported in New York as a record number of mosquitoes have been found with the virus.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports that 1,068 mosquito pools throughout the city’s five boroughs have tested positive for the virus. 779 positive pools were found in the city at the same time last year.
The health department released a statement saying that the two human cases were detected in Brooklyn and Queens.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that mosquito bites carry the highest risk of transmitting the West Nile virus to humans. According to the CDC, those incidents occur throughout the summer and fall seasons.
“We are in the height of West Nile virus season, but there are things you can do to decrease your risk of being bitten,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said.
If you’re outside late at night or early in the morning, wearing long sleeves and pants may help reduce the risk of being bitten, Vasan said.
Preventative measures are the most effective way to avoid infection since there is no vaccine for the virus.
Fatigue, fever, headaches, body aches, and rashes are all signs of West Nile infection. The CDC reports that 80% of infected individuals show no symptoms.
Occasionally, the virus can also be transmitted from mother to child through organ transplants, lab exposure, or blood transfusions.
According to the CDC, less than 1% of infected individuals experience a severe neuroinvasive sickness such as encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord.
The CDC has received reports of 54 human cases of the viral disease as of August 9.
Over 2,695 human cases were reported to the agency last year.