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Suffolk: Mosquito spraying set for marshes, Fire Island

Suffolk County has scheduled both ground and aerial spraying this week, weather permitting, with an eye toward mosquito and larvae control, county health officials said.

Ground spraying using the pesticide Anvil is planned Wednesday from 6 to 10 p.m. for all streets in the Fire Island communities of Ocean Bay Park, Ocean Beach and Seaview, and on Tuesday, also from 6 to 10 p.m., for Point O’Woods and Davis Park, officials said.

The chances of experiencing health effects from the ground spraying are “quite low,” the health department said, but children and pregnant women should avoid exposure by staying clear of the area during and at least 30 minutes after spraying.

Among the protective measures the department suggests are closing doors, windows and air-conditioning vents before spraying and keeping them closed 30 minutes afterward.

In addition to being annoying, some mosquitoes’ bites can transmit West Nile virus to people.

There’s also concern about the Zika virus, which can be transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, not yet found in New York State.

However, a related species, Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian tiger, is active in the downstate region, Long Island included, and “may be able to effectively transmit the virus,” health officials said.

Also planned for Tuesday through Thursday is aerial spraying of area salt marshes — with an eye on controlling mosquito larvae, Suffolk health officials said.

Marshes in areas of the towns of Babylon, Islip, Brookhaven, Southampton, East Hampton, Riverhead and Southold are to be sprayed Tuesday through Thursday between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., weather permitting, with the pesticides VectoPrime FG and Altosid Liquid Larvicide Concentrate, officials said.

Precautions are not necessary, health officials said, as “the helicopter will be flying at a very low level over marsh areas and taking other precautions to control airborne drift into inhabited areas.” Also, the pesticides that are being used “have no significant human toxicity,” they said.

The notices of spraying come as 13 new mosquito samples in Suffolk have tested positive for West Nile virus, officials said on Friday.

That brings the number of samples testing positive for the virus to 76 this year. The new samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected Aug. 9 and 10 in Huntington Station, Lindenhurst, Copiague, West Islip, Bay Shore, Port Jefferson Station, Holtsville, Setauket and Nesconset.

Eight birds have tested positive.

Nassau County is reporting 49 positive mosquito samples, with one case of the virus in a human, who was not hospitalized, a health department spokeswoman said.

West Nile virus, which was first detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999 and annually since, is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

While most people with the virus will experience mild or no symptoms, some can develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, according to Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken.

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