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Mosquito sample in tests positive for EEE, another shows West Nile

Department of Health Services Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken.

Department of Health Services Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Suffolk health officials said Friday the potentially lethal Eastern equine encephalitis virus had been found in a mosquito sample collected near Manorville on Sept. 18.

Officials also found the West Nile virus in a mosquito sample collected Sept. 17 in Dix Hills. 

To date this year, Suffolk County has reported seven mosquito samples that tested positive for the EEE virus and 74 mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile. On Sept. 17, Suffolk County reported two human cases of West Nile virus. Suffolk County has had no human cases of EEE. 

Both viruses can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

EEE in humans is rare. The disease is also a concern for horses, though a vaccine is available and recommended.

West Nile is the leading cause of mosquito born disease in the continental United States. Although most people who are infected will not feel sick, about 1 in 150 people who are infected will develop a serious, sometimes fatal illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“We don’t want people to be alarmed but rather informed,” said Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk health commissioner, in a release. “We will be treating the Manorville area for mosquitoes this weekend, and we encourage residents to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”

Health officials recommended that people aged 50 or over or those with compromised immune systems take precautions by using insect repellents and wearing long sleeves and pants when going outdoors. Additionally, they recommended avoiding going outside from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, and eliminating standing water from flowerpots, clogged gutters, recycle bins, birdbaths, toys, and swimming pool and hot tub covers.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

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