A probable case of West Nile virus has been identified in Ulster County, County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith said Monday. The case is under investigation by the state Health and County Health departments and involves a person who had recently traveled out-of-state; therefore, it is uncertain exactly where the infection may have been acquired, she said.
West Nile virus is most often spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
To date this season, the state Health Department has not found any tested positive mosquito pools in Ulster County.
While the virus can cause potentially serious illness, Smith said the overwhelming majority of people who are infected show mild symptoms and the illness generally improves on its own in a few weeks.
People are advised to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, make sure there are good screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out, and to get rid of mosquito breeding sites like standing water.