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Long IslandSuffolk

Suffolk: Mosquitoes in Holtsville, Bay Shore test positive for West Nile virus

A culex pipiens, one of the mosquitos that

A culex pipiens, one of the mosquitos that transmits West Nile virus and lives on Long Island. Credit: USGS

Two mosquito samples tested positive for the West Nile virus in Holtsville and Bay Shore,  the second and the third such discoveries this season, the Suffolk County Health Department reported Friday.

The first positive test of the season in Suffolk was collected June 9 in Bay Shore, officials said. The latest samples were collected July 14 and 15. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. 

"The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” said county Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott. “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.”

Most people infected with West Nile experience mild or no symptoms, officials said, but some can develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

The symptoms can last several weeks and are more dangerous in individuals over the age of 50 or with compromised immune systems. 

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.

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