An elderly Waterbury-LaSalle man has contracted West Nile Virus, and now may be clinging to life because of it.
Tony Guglielmo, 86, is said to have been one of this season’s three Bronx victims of West Nile Virus – a virus carried by mosquitoes – according to his niece, Waterbury LaSalle Community Association board member Mary Jane Musano. He was diagnosed with the virus about three weeks ago after being brought to Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said Musano.
Guglielmo was eventually released from the hospital and sent to rehabilitation, but was sent back to the hospital and is in an intensive care unit (as of press time), said Musano. His doctors cannot agree if the conditions he is experiencing, which include diminished eyesight and inability to walk, have been exacerbated or caused by West Nile Virus or not, said Musano.
“He is in mid-80s, and he is fighting for his life,” said Musano. “The doctor said that if someone really young or old gets West Nile, it can run the gamut.”
So far in the entire Bronx this season, there were three reported cases of West Nile Virus, said a spokeswoman for the city Department of Health. The spokeswoman declined to give any specifics of as to the ages or general locations of the victims in the Bronx, citing concerns about releasing confidential health records.
Nevertheless, Musano said that she feels it important that the community be aware that at least one of the cases appears to have originated from the Waterbury-LaSalle area, adding that in recent years she has noticed more mosquitoes in her community and in those adjacent to it.
“If there is a bump in West Nile Virus, we should be notified.” she said.
“We have been noticing a tremendous among of mosquitoes in Waterbury LaSalle, and also in the surrounding areas like Country Club,” added Musano, saying that she believes that there are more mosquitoes here than her friends and relatives have in their yards in upstate New York.
Several months ago, Musano said that the city Department of Health sprayed chemicals to prevent West Nile Virus onto the street’s surface on Baisley Avenue. However, the city did not notify residents of the spraying in advance so that they could close their windows and shut down their air conditioners to prevent any of the chemicals from entering their home, she said.
She said that her uncle Tony is in excellent shape – and frequently walked and drove to and from his senior program on Middletown Road, where he had been elected its president. Musano credits his fine condition as one of the reasons he is still alive.
“He has literally been fighting for his life,” said Musano.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393