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Suffolk: Two more mosquito samples test positive for West Nile virus

With two more mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile virus, the total for the year is up to 138 in Suffolk County, health officials reported Monday.

The new samples, Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected from Sept. 12 to 18 in Port Jefferson Station and Bridgehampton.

Fifteen birds and one horse have tested positive for the virus, with no human cases to date, health officials said.

Nassau County has reported 20 West Nile positive mosquito samples, with no human cases, a health department spokeswoman said.

Last year Suffolk County saw five human West Nile cases and no deaths, with Nassau reporting nine human cases and no deaths.

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

Also, Asian Tiger mosquitoes, officially known as Aedes albopictus, are now 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, 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, spokeswoman for Suffolk’s health department.

Residents are advised to do the following to avoid mosquito bites, 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 treating yards with barrier-type sprays containing permethrin as the active ingredient, or hiring licensed pesticide applicators.

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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