Suffolk County, NY - October 14th, 2013 - Commissioner James Tomarken announced today that seven new mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus. The samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected on October 2nd and October 3rd from locations in Oakdale and Mattituck. To date this year, 177 mosquito samples and ten birds have tested positive for West Nile virus. No horses and one human case have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County this year.
West Nile virus, first detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999 and again each year thereafter through 2012, is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
“The past weeks of unseasonably warm weather seem to have prolonged the virus and mosquito activity,” said Dr. Tomarken. “Therefore, residents should continue to do their best to reduce the mosquito population around their homes.”
To reduce the mosquito population around homes, residents should try to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitoes breed:
- Remove all discarded tires on the property.
- Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Change the water in birdbaths.
- Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds and keep shrubs and grass trimmed.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
- Drain water from pool covers.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus
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 who are most at risk, those 50 years of age or older or those with compromised immune systems, 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 outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are more active.
- Use mosquito repellent when outdoors, following label directions carefully.
- Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call 631-854-0333.
For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website at http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/PublicHealth/PreventiveServices/ArthropodborneDiseaseProgram/MosquitoesandMosquitoBorneDiseases.aspx