Suffolk County Health Services (SCDHS) Commissioner James L. Tomarken announced today that twelve mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus.
Suffolk County, NY - July 29, 2016 - Suffolk County Health Services (SCDHS) Commissioner James L. Tomarken announced today that twelve mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus. The samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected on July 20 and July 21, 2016, in Farmingville (2) Selden (1) Port Jeff Station (1) Stony Brook (1) Huntington Station (1) Northport (2) Greenlawn (1) Commack (1) Shelter Island (1) and Holtsville (1). The county has confirmed eighteen cases of West Nile virus in mosquitoes to date.
West Nile virus, first detected in birds and mosquitoes in Suffolk County in 1999 and again each year thereafter, is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. No humans or horses have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk this year. A total of two birds, one from Yaphank and one from East Northport have tested positive so far this year.
“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” said Dr. Tomarken. “While there is no cause for alarm, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce the exposure to the 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.
Help get the word out. Download a copy of “Get the Buzz on Mosquito Protection,” 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 Public Health Information Line in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 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.