21 new Suffolk mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus

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SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY – Twenty-one mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus, Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr Gregson Pigott said on Friday.

Twenty samples were Culex pipiens-restuans which were collected on August 25 and 26. Two were each from Cold Spring Harbor, Northport, and Rocky Point, while one each was from Greenlawn, Huntington Station, Melville, Lindenhurst, West Babylon, Holbrook, Islip, Bay Shore, Great River, Stony Brook, Setauket, Port Jefferson Station , North Patchogue and Southold. A Culex salinarius was collected from Bay Shore on August 26.

To date this season, 92 mosquito samples and four birds have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The virus, first detected in bird and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999 and again every year since, is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Most people infected with West Nile virus will have mild or no symptoms, but some may develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma , tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

Symptoms can last for several weeks and the neurological effects can be permanent. People, especially those aged 50 or older, or those with weakened immune systems, who are most at risk, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

“Confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the region,” said Dr Pigott. “While there is no cause for undue concern, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”

Pigott offers the following tips to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
  • Wear shoes and socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active.
  • Use mosquito repellent by carefully following label directions.
  • Make sure all windows and doors have screens and that all screens are in good condition.
  • Prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside your home. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover or discard any containers that contain water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires , buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, garbage cans and rain barrels.
  • Download a copy of the Suffolk County information brochure “Get the Buzz on Mosquito Protection”, available in English and Spanish, and share it with your community.

Dead birds may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the Bureau of Public Health Protection at 631-852-5999 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents are encouraged to take a photo of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or standing puddles, call the Vector Control Division of the Department of Public Works at 631-852-4270.

For more information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services website.


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