Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken announced today that four new mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus. The samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected on September 20 from North Babylon (1), Aquebogue (1), Southold (1), and Shelter Island (1).
To date this season, the county has reported one horse, 139 mosquito samples and 12 birds have tested positive for West Nile Virus. The county has also reported four human cases of West Nile virus to date this year.
West Nile virus, first detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999 and again each year thereafter, is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
“Though the temperatures are getting cooler, mosquitoes may still be active for several more weeks,” said Dr. Tomarken. “While there is no cause for alarm, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus, which can be debilitating to humans.”
According to Dr. Tomarken, most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, but some can develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. The symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Individuals, especially those 50 years of age or older, or those with compromised immune systems, who are most at risk, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
To avoid mosquito bites, residents are advised to:
- Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
- Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active.
- Use mosquito repellent, following label directions carefully.
- Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
- Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside of your home. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out containers that hold water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans and rain barrels.
- Download a copy of Suffolk County’s informational brochure “Get the Buzz on Mosquito Protection,” available in English and Spanish, and share it with your community.
To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website at http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/PublicHealth/PreventiveServices/ArthropodborneDiseaseProgram/Mosquitoes.aspx