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Suffolk: New mosquito samples positive for West Nile

Three new mosquito samples in Suffolk County have tested positive for West Nile virus, county health officials said Friday. That brings to 119 the number of West Nile positive mosquito samples so far this year.

The new samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected Sept. 21 and 22 from Dix Hills, Stony Brook and Shelter Island, officials said.

Four human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the county this year, including one death of a person older than 50, which is the first death associated with the virus since 2010. The other three residents are either recuperating or have recovered, officials said.

Nassau, which has had 77 mosquito samples testing positive for the virus, has reported six confirmed human cases, with none currently hospitalized, said a spokeswoman for the Nassau County health department.

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.

Among those most at risk for the virus, which can be fatal, are people older than 50 and those with chronic illness or compromised immune systems.

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