Dr. James Rahal, Leading West Nile Virus Expert, Available as National & Local Media Resource
Flushing, N.Y., July 22, 2010— Mosquitoes with the West Nile virus have been found in Queens and other parts of New York City. The number of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus is considered high at this point of the summer season, according to the NYC Department of Health. West Nile usually peaks in late August. So far, no human cases have been detected in New York City, although there has been a confirmed case in New Hyde Park, Long Island, a town bordering Queens.
James Rahal, M.D., one of the nation’s experts on the West Nile virus, advises New Yorkers to pay close attention to mosquito bite precautions issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and NYC Department of Health.
“Topping the list for West Nile virus prevention is the use of insect repellents to prevent mosquito bites,” said James Rahal, M.D., Director, Infectious Disease Division, New York Hospital Queens. “Mosquitoes transmit the virus to humans. West Nile infection can cause meningitis or encephalitis, which can result in a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.”
For more information on mosquito precautions, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/ or full list of zip codes where West Nile has been detected, go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/wnvactivity.shtml.
James Rahal, M.D.
Dr. James Rahal, Director of Infectious Disease, New York Hospital Queens, Professor of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, was one of the first physicians in the U.S. to identify the mosquito-borne disease pattern, which began infecting patients in Queens, New York, in 1999. Since then, he has been working on developing an effective treatment for patients who are affected with the disease. In August 2002, Dr. Rahal was authorized by the FDA to start a national treatment trial for patients with severe West Nile infection using a drug called alpha-interferon. The clinical trial is ongoing and physicians are encouraged to enroll infected patients in the study. So far, there is no cure for West Nile virus.
New York Hospital Queens
New York Hospital Queens is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and is an affiliate of Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
NOTE TO EDITOR: Contact us for an opportunity to interview Dr. Rahal about his research on West Nile virus and preventative measures.