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Suffolk: 19 more mosquito samples test positive for West Nile

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. Photo Credit: AP / James Gathany

In Suffolk County 19 more mosquito samples, collected from Aug. 16 to 18, have tested positive for West Nile virus, county health officials said Friday.

The samples collected were three in Holtsville, two each in Huntington Station, Smithtown and Commack and one each in Melville, Islip, Oakdale, East Hampton, Stony Brook, Huntington, Northport, North Patchogue , Yaphank and Rocky Point.

That brings the total to 110 samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans mosquitoes, as well as 14 birds that have tested positive for West Nile.

Also, Asian Tiger mosquitoes, officially known as Aedes albopictus, are presently active in Suffolk, health officials said. Known “to bite aggressively near your feet and ankles during the day,” they are also relatives of the mosquito — Aedes Aegypti — that is transmitting the Zika virus.

Zika virus has not been found in any mosquitoes on Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk officials said.

The Asian Tiger “has been known to carry the virus, but not as competently as the Aedes Aegypti and not at all in New York,” said Grace Kelly-McGovern, Suffolk health department spokeswoman.

Residents are advised to do the following “if they encounter these daytime biters,” Dr. James L. Tomarken, county health commissioner, said:

Eliminate stagnant water where mosquitoes breed by dumping water and scrubbing containers weekly to remove eggs; use mosquito repellent with EPA approved labeling; consider using larvicide tablets, treating yards with barrier type sprays containing permethrin as the active ingredient, or hiring licensed pesticide applicators.

As for West Nile, Nassau County is reporting seven mosquito samples that have tested positive, a health department spokeswoman said.

Some mosquito bites can transmit West Nile to humans, with mosquitoes picking up the virus by feeding on infected birds. Last year Suffolk County saw five human West Nile cases and no deaths, with Nassau reporting nine human cases and no deaths.

Also last year, 2,060 human cases of West Nile were reported in the United States, resulting in 119 deaths, based on information as of mid-January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials say residents can help make areas around their homes unfriendly to mosquitoes by:

Regularly looking for and eliminating even the smallest amounts of standing water, which is where the insects reproduce. That could include in cans, buckets and other containers, as well as old tires, tarps, pool covers and children’s toys.

Drilling drainage holes at the bottom of garbage cans, changing birdbath water at least weekly and making sure roof gutters are unclogged and draining properly.

Adding fish to circulate water in any backyard ponds, and clearing pond edges of debris and vegetation.

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