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Nine new mosquito samples test positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk

A culex pipiens, one of the mosquitos that

A culex pipiens, one of the mosquitos that transmits West Nile virus and lives on Long Island. Credit: USGS

Nine additional mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County, the county health department said Friday.

The samples were collected on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12 from Cold Spring Harbor (2), Greenlawn (1), Northport (1), Copiague (2), West Babylon (1), West Islip (1), and Bay Shore (1).

So far this season, 46 mosquito samples and four birds have tested positive for West Nile virus, county health officials said in a news release.

“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott said in the release. “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.”

 Being bitten and infected by a virus-carrying mosquito doesn’t sicken most people, but about one in five develop fever and other symptoms, and about 1 in 150 develop a serious and sometimes fatal, illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus — the continental United States’ leading cause of mosquito-borne disease, according to the CDC — has been detected every year since 1999, when first found in Suffolk, health officials have said.

It urged people to avoid mosquito bites by minimizing outdoor activity between dusk and dawn; wearing shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts; equipping all windows and doors with working screens; preventing mosquitoes from laying eggs anywhere in or outside of the house; and once a week emptying, scrubbing, turning over or throwing out water-holding containers.

The release urged the reporting of dead birds, which may indicate the virus’ presence, to (631) 852-5999, and mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, to (631) 852-4270.

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