07/10/2012 05:09 pm ET Updated Jul 10, 2012

West Nile Virus 2012: Virus Detected In Staten Island Mosquitoes

For the first time in 2012, West Nile virus has been found in New York City.

The Health Department detected mosquitoes carrying the virus in Staten Island Tuesday, near New Dorp Beach and Bull's Head. Although no humans have been infected yet, the Health Department has issued a warning.

“West Nile Virus has been detected on Staten Island, but simple precautions can help protect you and your family,” said Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Wear mosquito repellent when you’re outdoors, and cover your arms and legs if you’re outside at dawn or dusk. People over 50 should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus.”

West Nile Virus can "cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)."

The government recommends using insect repellents, screens in windows, cleaning roof gutters, cleaning pools and eliminating any standing water that may breed mosquitoes. The last time the West Nile Virus was in New York was in September of 2011, and the first time was in 1999.