SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A Syracuse child has been infected with West Nile virus, the first human case reported in Onondaga County this year.
The child was briefly hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery, according to Dr. Indu Gupta, the county’s health commissioner. The health department did not identify the child.
It is the county’s first human case of West Nile since 2014.
The mosquito-borne infection can cause serious illness and even death. An Onondaga County resident died of West Nile virus in 2012.
Most people infected with West Nile do not develop any symptoms. People who get sick usually show symptoms three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People with mild cases may have a fever, headache, body ache, skin rash or swollen glands. People with severe cases have a sudden onset of headache, high fever, stiff neck, muscle weakness and altered mental status.
The symptoms are very similar to those experienced by people with Eastern equine encephalitis, another mosquito-borne disease. But EEE is much more serious and more likely to result in death.
Evidence of West Nile virus has been found in numerous mosquito traps throughout the county this summer and is considered widespread.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile virus.
Gupta said people should protect themselves from mosquito bites by using repellent and wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outside.