Suffolk health officials said Thursday that a mosquito sample has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first confirmation of the disease in the county this year.
“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” said Dr. Gregson Pigott, the county’s health commissioner, in a news release. “While there is no cause for undue concern, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”
The sample was recovered in Bay Shore on June 9. West Nile virus was first discovered in the county in birds and mosquitoes in 1999, officials said. It is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
“Most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, but some can develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis,” officials said in the release. “The symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Individuals, especially those 50 years of age or older, or those with compromised immune systems, who are most at risk, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”
Officials advise area residents to: Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn; wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active; use mosquito repellent; make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair; and keep mosquitoes from laying eggs by, once a week, emptying and scrubbing containers that hold water.