Living in New York City has always come with its fair share of ups and downs – from congestion and rush hour traffic to the world’s most intricate system of public transportation, and amazing feats of architecture, the city delicately balanced the good and bad. One of the most difficult issues for New Yorkers like Frank Camuso and his wife Christine however, has always been the volatile, completely unpredictable weather. Growing up on Staten Island Frank Camuso knows NYC to have some of the coldest, and most snowy winters as well as the hottest, and most humid summers – of any major city in the country. This summer has been no different, New Yorkers have experienced bouts of 100-degree weathers, with insane humidity, mixed with the occasional weeklong rain and thunderstorms. More than just annoying the people this weather has had an interesting effect on our environment. The high levels of humidity combined with the almost weekly rain has provided the perfect breeding ground for the summer’s most annoying tourists, mosquitos. And while mosquitos have long been a staple of summer weather, NYC natives like Frank Camuso are fearing the worst – the return of the West Nile virus. Last month, an unnamed Manhattan man was the city’s first reported case of the summer – and groups of mosquitos on Staten Island have tested positive as carriers of the debilitating virus.
Having first rampaged the city in 1999, the West Nile virus and the illness known as encephalitis is a viral issue that is spread by mosquitos. While many of those who are infected with the virus go without symptoms, encephalitis is most commonly characterized by inflammation of the brain tissue, causing migraine headaches, fevers, muscle aches and extreme fatigue. While middle-aged, Staten Island natives who are in relatively good health, like Frank Camuso and his wife Christine, may have little to worry about, they fear for their children and the elderly. Because of their advanced age, and their weakened immune systems, the elderly are at the most risk for the possibly fatal viral infection.
If the virus spreads to parts of the brain and spinal cord the infected individual is at grave risk and should seek medical attention immediately if exhibiting any of the symptoms above. Also, any changes to the individual’s mental state or capacity should be taken seriously as well, as this is a symptom of an advanced form of encephalitis and the West Nile virus. City officials have already begun taking action as well, Staten Islanders like Frank Camuso are warned to try to stay indoors this week after 9 pm, as specially designed trucks will be spraying pesticides into the air in many Staten Island neighborhoods.
The spraying is planned for Monday & Tuesday, July 7th& 8th – from 9 pm to 6 am, both nights. In the following Staten Island zip codes: 10301, 10302, 10303, 10304, 10310, 10311, and 10314. Staten Islanders and NYC citizens are warned to take every precaution possible, applying mosquito repellents, staying indoors during the warm, muggy nights, and if you do present any symptoms don’t take a chance – visit your local hospital immediately.