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West Nile virus found in mosquito samples, 4 birds in Suffolk County

Culex pipiens, one of the mosquitoes that transmits

Culex pipiens, one of the mosquitoes that transmits West Nile virus. Credit: Getty Images/Paul Starosta

Eight Suffolk communities had mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile virus, while another four had birds infected with the usually mild but sometimes severe illness, the county health commissioner said Friday.

One sample each of the mosquitoes that can spread the virus to people and birds was found in Cold Spring Harbor, Copiague, West Islip, Bohemia and Farmingville. Northport had four, the statement said, while Bay Shore had three and Brentwood two.

The samples all were collected Aug. 6., the health commissioner said, advising that people, especially if they are over 50 or have weakened immune systems, take precautions: from emptying and scrubbing any outside containers of water to staying indoors once night falls.

One dead bird each was collected from: Nesconset, Manorville, Bellport and East Moriches, health commissioner spokeswoman Grace Kelly-McGovern said by telephone.

So far this year, a total of 37 mosquito samples have tested positive, along with six birds.

“While there is no cause for undue concern, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses," said county Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott.

The virus, which can cause multiple, serious symptoms, from high fevers to paralysis, has been found in Suffolk every year since 1999, Pigott said.

To report dead birds, call the Bureau of Public Health Protection at 631-852-5999  from 9 a.m. to 4 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 more information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website.

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