A West Nile Virus infected mosquito was found in Northport on July 10, the Suffolk County Department of Health announced last week. Additional samples were also found in South Huntington, Holbrook, and Farmingville, bringing the total number of infected mosuiquitos found in Suffolk County this season to 15.
The County also found an infected mosquito in Northport in samples collected July 2 and 3, and an infected dead crow on June 27.
County Representative Grace Kelly-McGovern said that the exact locations where samples are found are not given for multiple reasons, but said that teams will spray the area if a large number of samples are found.
"Once a positive mosquito is found we know it's circulating in the mosquito population and will continue to do survelience," she said, adding that sample collections will continue throughout the summer. "The Department of Public Works will spray if there are many in an area."
West Nile virus, first detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999 and again each year thereafter through 2011, 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.
Suffolk County Health Services (SCDHS) Commissioner James L. Tomarken said there is no cause for alarm but urged residents to help the County contain the spread of the virus, which can be delibitating to humans, by reducing the moquito population through the following steps:
- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-
- 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.
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 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.
Dead birds found on area properties may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the West Nile virus hotline in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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 631-853-3055.
For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health.