Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were found last week in four Suffolk County localities — Brentwood, Bay Shore, Northport and Greenlawn — health officials said Friday.
A total of 23 mosquito samples have tested positive so far this year, Suffolk Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott said in a statement. One sample of the same species, Culex pipiens-restuans, from each of the four communities tested positive in the latest round of tests from July 28, he said. Also, in Bay Shore, a fifth mosquito of the species Culex salinarius, was found to be infected, bringing the total to five positive tests.
“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 diseases,” Pigott said.
The virus can kill birds, so people are asked to report them and undertake other safeguards to avoid mosquito bites, such as not venturing out after dark to emptying out and scrubbing outside containers of water at least once a week to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.
Pigott warned: “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 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 further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services website.