Niagara Gazette — The first laboratory-confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in Niagara County this year was reported Thursday by the county health department.
The affected person, a young adult male, is recovering at his Gasport home after being hospitalized for treatment of illness that's clinically consistent with West Nile Virus infection, Daniel J. Stapleton, health department director, said.
It's believed that the patient contracted the virus in Gasport.
The virus is transmitted to humans by the bites of infected mosquitos. To date, the county has not reported any West Nile-positive mosquito pools, infected birds or positive horses, according to Stapleton.
Most people infected with West Nile Virus won't know they've contracted it. According to Stapleton, only about 20 percent of infected humans develop clinically noticeable signs and symptoms of West Nile infection.
Mild symptoms include fever, headache and body aches and, occasionally, a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
Severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
Anyone who's been bitten by mosquitoes and experiences West Nile symptoms should be seen by a health care provider, Stapleton said. People most at risk of contracting the virus, including those with compromised immune systems or are older than 50 years, should take precautions to avoid being bitten, he added. Mosquitoes will survive until the first hard frost.
The health department is urging residents countywide to take steps to eliminate stagnant water, where mosquitoes breed. Dispose of water-holding containers, remove discarded tires from property, turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when they're not in use, drain water from pool covers, clean and chlorinate pools, saunas and hot tubs, clean clogged roof gutters, clear vegetation from the edges of ponds, keep shrubs and grass trimmed and replace water in birdbaths daily so that it stays fresh.
To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the health department's environmental division at 439-7444. To report West Nile Virus cases or get medical information, call the nursing division at 278-1900.