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Suffolk health officials recommend suspending some activities at Blydenburgh County Park after West Nile find

With a mosquito sample collected July 21 at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown testing positive for West Nile virus, officials have advised suspending park activities from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., the Suffolk County health department said Friday.

The parks commissioner has been notified, officials said in a release.

Six other mosquito samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, also tested positive. The samples were collected July 21 and 22 in West Islip, East Northport, Lindenhurst, West Babylon and Copiague. Three birds, all American crows, also tested positive, having been collected July 21, 22 and 24 in East Northport and Bay Shore.

That brings to 19 the total number of mosquito samples for the year in Suffolk, and three birds.

Nassau County reported three positive mosquito samples, a spokeswoman said.

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

"The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area," said Dr. James L. Tomarken, Suffolk County health services commissioner.

"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."

In some cases, the virus causes serious neurological illnesses that can lead to health conditions or death.

Nassau had four reported human cases of West Nile and no deaths, last year, with Suffolk reporting one case and no deaths.

Last year, 2,205 cases of human infection were reported in the United States, resulting in 97 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.

Learn more at http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/PublicHealth/PreventiveServices/ArthropodborneDiseaseProgram/PreventingMosquitoBorneIllnesses.aspx

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