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Suffolk: 176 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus

A total of 176 mosquito samples in Suffolk County have tested positive this year for West Nile virus, with the most recent collected Sept. 9 and Sept. 11, county health officials said Friday.

Of those recent positive samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, two each were collected in East Northport, Bay Shore, West Babylon and Copiague, with one each in Farmingville, Mastic Beach and North Patchogue.

The virus has also been found in 11 birds.

"While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce the exposure to the virus, which can be debilitating to humans," Suffolk County Health Services Commissioner James Tomarken said in statement.

In Nassau County, 101 mosquito samples have tested positive for the virus, with one human case confirmed -- that of a man older than 60 in the Town of Hempstead who was hospitalized in mid-August and was recovering, a health department spokeswoman said. The county did not release any other details of the man, who is the first known West Nile victim of 2014 on Long Island.

Some mosquito bites can transmit West Nile to humans, with mosquitoes picking up the virus by feeding on infected birds.

In some cases, the virus causes serious neurological illnesses that can lead to health conditions or death. Last year, 2,469 cases of human infection were reported in the United States, resulting in 119 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Four human West Nile cases and no deaths were reported in Suffolk last year, with eight human cases and no deaths in Nassau, officials said.

Residents are advised to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitoes breed in and around their homes; to minimize outdoor activities and cover their skin in the evening and night when mosquitoes are most active; and to use mosquito repellent outdoors.

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