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Two more Queens women are infected with W. Nile

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Two Queens women, one from Bayside and one from Howard Beach, were both hospitalized with West Nile viral infections last week, the city Health Department announced.

Both women have developed encephalitis, or a swelling of the brain tissue, which is caused by the West Nile virus, and both were in stable condition Saturday, the city Health Department said.

The Bayside woman, 75, was hospitalized Aug. 31 with encephalitis, and the Howard Beach woman, 34, was hospitalized Sept. 2 with encephalitis and aseptic meningitis.

The new cases bring the borough’s total to six this year, and the city’s total to nine, including one fatality, the death of a 73-year-old Jackson Heights man. The death was the first fatal case of the disease in the city in two years.

Of the other cases, three people were released from the hospital, including an 86-year-old woman from Beechhurst, and two women from the Bronx, ages 71 and 27.

Four, including the two new cases, remain in the hospital. The 84-year-old Rosedale man, the first case to be detected in Queens and in the city, is still in critical condition, while an 85-year-old Richmond Hill woman is in stable condition, the Health Department said.

A 71-year-old Bronx man was also hospitalized on Sept. 1. and is in stable condition, the Health Department said Monday.

The names of the patients had not been released.

“Historically, the final weeks of summer are when we see the most intense West Nile virus activity in New York City,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Freiden. “Indeed, this season’s West Nile virus threat is not over until the first frost this fall.”

The Health Department has been spraying parts of Queens with the pesticide Anvil to curb the spread of adult mosquitoes carrying the virus. College Point, Bay Terrace and Bayside were sprayed Aug. 17, Rosedale and Brookville were sprayed Aug. 20, and College Point, Whitestone, Beechhurst, Linden Hill and Murray Hill were sprayed Sept. 4.

No additional spraying was planned for the borough, said a spokesman for the Health Department.

The virus thrives in mosquito pools, where the insects breed abundantly. In Queens alone, 38 mosquito pools have been found and 36 dead birds have tested positive for the disease this year, the Health Department said.

The West Nile virus, which first appeared in the Western Hemisphere in Powell’s Cove in August 1999, is carried by birds and transmitted to human beings by mosquitoes. Only about 1 percent of people bitten by infected mosquitoes develop a serious infection, which could lead to encephalitis.

Nationwide, more than 1,000 people have developed West Nile infections, and 43 people have died this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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