NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Monday confirmed the city’s first human cases of the West Nile virus this season.

Health officials said Monday the virus was detected in five New York City residents, all over the age of 50. Two patients were from Brooklyn, and one each was from Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan.

Three of the patients were hospitalized and have since been discharged. The other two cases did not require hospitalization.

Most people infected with the mosquito-borne virus either show no symptoms or suffer a flu-like illness. A small number develop a serious illness that can lead to neurological damage.

Officials suggest people take the following precautions to protect themselves against mosquitoes:

• Wear insect repellent and covering up outside in the late afternoon and evening.

• Check toys and play houses for standing water.

• Turn over containers, wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

• Change the water in birdbaths at least twice weekly.

• Sweep puddles off driveways after it rains.

• Clear storm drains and gutters.

• Clean and chlorinate pools and hot tubs and drain water off their covers.

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