Nineteen additional mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County, bringing to 50 the total number of positive pools found so far this season and far more than the 19 positive samples found so far in Nassau.
"The confirmation of West Nile virus in a mosquito pool indicates that the virus is actively circulating within the mosquito population," Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk's commissioner of health and human services, said Monday.
"While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which can be debilitating to humans," Tomarken said.
On Long Island, West Nile virus is primarily carried by the common house mosquito, which usually breeds on the very property of the people it bites. Female mosquitoes are the only biters and need a blood meal to produce eggs.
Tomarken, like his counterparts in Nassau, say residents can reduce the mosquito population around their homes by eliminating stagnant water where the insects can breed. Clearing out gutters and keeping pools chlorinated can prevent mosquitoes from proliferating around homes.
Mosquitoes remain in flight through October and Long Islanders will not see a reprieve, experts say, until frosts force the insects into dormancy.Only one human case has been reported this season, identified last week as a Huntington adult younger than 55 who experienced fever, chills, body aches and swollen lymph nodes. The victim's symptoms began earlier this month and lasted about five days. The individual , whose gender and name have not been released, was not hospitalized and has fully recovered, health officials said.