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15 more mosquitoes in Suffolk 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

Fifteen mosquito samples in Suffolk County have tested positive for the West Nile virus — in Huntington Station, West Babylon, Brentwood, Bay Shore, Islip, Great River, Stony Brook and North Patchogue — bringing the total to 18 this season, the county health department said Thursday.

Bay Shore, with six, had the most, followed by Islip, with three, and the rest had one each, according to a department news release, which said the samples were collected July 21 and July 22.

Being bitten and infected by a virus-carrying mosquito doesn’t sicken most people, but about one in five develop fever and other symptoms, and about 1 in 150 develop a serious and sometimes fatal, illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus — the continental United States’ leading cause of mosquito-borne disease, according to the CDC — has been detected every year since 1999, when first found in Suffolk, the release said.

It urged people to avoid mosquito bites by minimizing outdoor activity between dusk and dawn; wearing shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts; equipping all windows and doors with working screens; preventing mosquitoes from laying eggs anywhere in or outside of the house; and once a week emptying, scrubbing, turning over or throwing out water-holding containers.

In the United States last year, there were believed to be 958 cases and 54 deaths, including 16 cases in New York and one death, according to the CDC.

The release urged the reporting of dead birds, which may indicate the virus’ presence, to 631-852-5999, and mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, to 631-852-4270.

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