A culex pipiens, one of the mosquitos that transmits West...

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

Twelve mosquito samples collected in Suffolk County this month tested positive for West Nile virus, a first for the county this year, Suffolk health officials announced Friday.

The samples were taken on July 20 and July 21, said Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott.

They included two samples collected in West Babylon on July 20,    and ones collected on that same date in Dix Hills, Cold Spring Harbor, Melville, Copiague, Bay Shore, Setauket, Port Jefferson Station and Aquebogue, Pigott said in a release.

The other two samples that tested positive were taken on July 21 from Greenlawn and Commack, Pigott said. 

The virus can be transmitted to humans through mosquito bites and could cause severe symptoms such as vision loss, muscle weakness and neurological problems, which in some people are permanent.

People age 50 and older or with compromised immune systems are more likely to get sick while most people who get the virus have mild or no symptoms, the health department said.

“While there is no cause for alarm, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases,” said Pigott, adding that West Nile has been detected in Suffolk every year since 1999.

Mosquito growth can be curtailed by eliminating outside containers holding water including pet bowls, buckets, trash cans and birdbaths — or at least emptying them once a week and scrubbing them, Pigott said.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the county’s vector control division at 631-852-4270.

If you see a dead bird — a possible indication of the presence of the West Nile virus — take a photograph of the bird and call the county’s Bureau of Public Health Protection at 631-852-5999 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

                                                                              

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