THE BRONX - The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed the season?s first human case of West Nile virus in a Bronx man today.

According to health officials, the 61-year-old Bronx man had been hospitalized with meningitis.

"This first case of West Nile viral disease in New York City provides a vital reminder to protect ourselves against mosquito bites," Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says.

The department?s tips to avoid West Nile include wearing repellant and long clothing. The elderly should be especially careful, officials say.