Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott announced today that 19 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus. All of the positive samples were of the Culex pipiens-restuans species. They were collected from July 31 through August 3 from Huntington Station(1), Dix Hills(1), Melville(1), Commack(1), North Babylon(1), West Babylon(1), Lindenhurst(4), Hauppauge(1),Lake Ronkonkoma(1), West Bay Shore(1), West Islip(1), Holbrook(1), Sayville(1), Farmingville(1), Port Jefferson Station(1), and East Hampton(1).
To date this year, 31 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus and one sample tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus.
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. Suffolk County reported 11 cases of West Nile virus in 2022 and 8 in 2021. Nine people have died from West Nile virus since 2000. More information about West Nile virus in Suffolk County can be found on our website: https://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Health-Services/Public-Health/Preventive-Services/Arthropod-borne-Diseases/Mosquitoes
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 or older or those with compromised immune systems, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Jamestown Canyon virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Fever, headache and fatigue are common symptoms of Jamestown Canyon virus. Symptoms of severe disease may include stiff neck, confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, or seizures. There are no vaccines to prevent the virus. The treatment is supportive care.
Though Suffolk County has no reported cases of Jamestown Canyon virus, this virus has been isolated in mosquito samples in 2008, 2017 and 2022. Residents are advised to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. More information on Jamestown Canyon virus can be found on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/jamestown-canyon/index.html
“The finding of Jamestown Canyon virus or West Nile virus in mosquito samples indicates the presence of that virus in the area,” said Dr. Pigott. “While there is no cause for alarm, we advise residents to take precautions and cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to mosquito-borne diseases.”
Dr. 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, 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.
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 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.
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.