BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man was hospitalized in September with dengue virus, believed to be contracted locally, Suffolk County health officials said Wednesday.
It is the first known case of the disease to be acquired in New York state.
The 50-year-old patient from the Town of Babylon has since fully recovered, officials said.
Dengue fever is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms include high fever and at least two of the following: severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle or bone pain, rash, mild bleeding manifestation and low white cell count. There is no treatment for the condition, which can be fatal.
The virus is more common in the tropics and subtropics. Florida, Texas and Hawaii were previously the only states with locally contracted cases.
Health officials believe the Babylon man was likely bitten by a mosquito that had earlier bitten someone else who was infected elsewhere and then traveled to the area.
“This person acquired the condition locally, whereas most people acquire the disease by going to an endemic area,” Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken told CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco.
Health officials don’t expect the virus to become widespread in the region because New York’s climate is not conducive to its sustained transmission.
However, news of the virus got the attention of Long Island residents.
“Obviously, I would be concerned about it if it’s going to affect my family,” said Hank Lillis, of West Islip.
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