West Nile Case Confirmed; Asian Tiger Mosquito Torments

Updated 8/6/2010 7:55 a.m.NEW YORK (CBS 2) — New York City has its first confirmed case of West Nile Virus.

CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reports there’s a growing number of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus and the city has a plan to deal with the problem.

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Ashley Young and other New Yorkers are noticing more mosquitoes than usual. A wet, humid spring is responsible for more of them than last year.

Also, there’s a relative newcomer to the area, the Asian Tiger mosquito. It’s unusual because it bites us during the day, unlike others that come out at dusk.

“They are absolutely awful,” Young said.

And mosquitoes are potentially lethal. On Thursday night the Department of Health confirmed New York’s first human case of West Nile Virus — a 61-year-old man from the Bronx who is hospitalized.

“You don’t know if it’s gonna be here next or Staten Island or Queens,”  resident Ray McNally said.

The city is stepping up its campaign to spray large areas of each borough, and the public is being warned to get rid of all standing water, even in the smallest containers.

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In a Rutgers University lab mosquitoes are studied to come up with better ways for communities to combat them.

“These are nasty. That’s why we’re trying to get rid of them,” Dr. Dina Fonseca said.

Fonseca, a Rutgers entomology professor, said with the adult mosquito population booming, wide spread spraying is the best defense, but her team is looking for other options.

When asked what the future of combating mosquitoes will be like, Fonseca said, “I think one of our best friends is the winter. If we could figure out a way to control them, just about when they are starting.”

That solution may be a few years off. It’s suggested city residents wear light, loose clothing, long pants and long sleeved shirts, and wear insect repellant to keep the bugs at bay.

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Last year more than 700 cases of West Nile were reported nationwide. Symptoms include headache, fever, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.