Two more human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Nassau County, bringing the county's total to five so far this year, a health department spokeswoman said Friday.
Nassau's new cases involve a Town of North Hempstead woman, older than 70, who saw the onset of symptoms in early September, was hospitalized and is now home recovering, and a woman older than 50 in the Town of Oyster Bay who became ill in early August and is recovering.
As of Sept. 18, Suffolk County health officials had reported one human case -- a Town of Islip man older than 50 who has been hospitalized since late August, a spokeswoman said.
In some cases, the virus causes serious neurological illnesses that can lead to permanent conditions, including death. Some mosquito bites can transmit West Nile to humans, with mosquitoes picking up the virus by feeding on infected birds.
Nassau is reporting 59 mosquito samples that have tested positive this year for the virus, while Suffolk documented 192, including 13 new positive samples announced Friday. Samples that resulted to Suffolk's new positive findings were collected Sept. 15-17 from West Babylon, North Patchogue, Selden, Patchogue, Port Jefferson Station, Setauket, South Huntington, Bay Shore, Islip, Holbrook and Smithtown.
Residents are advised to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitoes breed around their homes; to minimize outdoor activities and cover skin in the evening and night when mosquitoes are most active; and to use mosquito repellent outdoors.
Last year, 2,205 West Nile cases in humans were reported in the United States, resulting in 97 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nassau had four reported human cases of West Nile last year, while Suffolk reported one case. There were no deaths last year in either county.