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West Nile virus detected in more mosquito samples, health officials say

Mosquitoes are tested at a Yaphank laboratory in

Mosquitoes are tested at a Yaphank laboratory in 2009. Credit: James Carbone

The West Nile virus, which causes symptoms ranging from fever to headaches, was detected in three more mosquito samples in Suffolk County, raising the total so far this season to 77, health officials said Friday.

The latest samples came from Lindenhurst, West Babylon and Mattituck, according to Suffolk and state health officials. The potentially deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus was not detected this week, and no horse in the county has tested positive for it or West Nile.

West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk's health commissioner, said in a statement: “While there is no cause for alarm, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce their exposure to the virus, which can be debilitating to humans.”

Suffolk health officials announced two cases of West Nile virus in people last month. Tomarken's spokeswoman said both of those people continue to recover at home.

The West Nile virus also can cause vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain, and fatigue, the county health department said. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. "There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus. Patients are treated with supportive therapy as needed," it said.

To prevent the virus from spreading, the county health department asks residents to drain any standing water and take precautions when outdoors, including wearing insect repellent.

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

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the Department of Health Services’ website.

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