Fourteen human cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus have been reported in the city this summer. That's the highest number since officials in New York first registered the disease in 2000.
Dr. Sally Slavinski, Director of the Vector-Borne Disease Unit in the city's Department of Health says that while the summer may be coming to an end, there is still danger of infection in all five boroughs.
"With another four to six weeks of warm weather, mosquitoes are going to remain active until mid to late October, so we don't want people to let their guard down at this point," Slavinski says. "We do consider all New Yorkers to be at risk for infection. And while persons of any age can get sick from infection, its those folks that are 50 and over that are at greater risk for developing a more severe illness if they are infected."
The Department of Health recommends using insect repellent, closing window screens and draining pools of standing water to eliminate mosquito habitat.
Signs of West Nile Virus can range from mild flu-like symptoms to muscle aches and extreme fatigue. In extreme cases, the disease can lead to fatal infections of the brain and spinal cord like menigitis and encephalitis.