NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One expert is warning that the country could experience the worst outbreak of West Nile Virus since 1999.
More than 1,000 cases have already been reported — three times the norm — and the worst may be yet to come.
Blood-sucking mosquitoes are on the prowl this summer, with some carrying the potentially deadly virus. In most cases, those infected show no symptoms, medical experts said.
In others, symptoms can range from fever, headache or more severe symptoms like confusion.
This summer, West Nile Virus made an early appearance in New Jersey.
“We may have a longer mosquito season than usual, but how much of that gets into the human population is impossible to predict,” Bob Kent, of the Office of Mosquito Control Coordination of New Jersey, told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock on Wednesday.
The numbers in our area aren’t as scary and are not uncommon. To date there has been one case in New Jersey, two in Connecticut and 10 in New York, including five in the city, two on Long Island and one death upstate.
But it’s possible the situation could get a whole lot worse.
“We’re just starting that nasty part of the season, so we’ll be vigilant going forward,” Kent said.
And, Kent said, you should be, too.
“Homeowners can really be our best partners in this by being very cautious and careful about cleaning up their own property — looking for containers that have standing water,” Kent said.
That is where mosquitoes multiply by the hundreds.
Delores Jenkins said she is doing her part to make sure the little bloodsuckers don’t make her their next meal.
“You have to watch out for them from what the news is saying – West Nile is coming,” Jenkins said.
West Nile Virus is already a health crisis in Texas, with more than 500 infected and 21 dead. Dallas County is spraying for the first time in nearly 50 years.
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