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Long Island

West Nile virus found in 181 Suffolk mosquito samples

A total of 181 Suffolk County mosquito samples have tested positive this year for West Nile virus, with the most recent collected from Sept. 16 through 18, county health officials said Friday.

Of those recent positive samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, two were collected in Bay Shore and one each in Farmingville, Aquebogue and Bridgehampton, officials said.

The virus has also been found in 11 birds.

"While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce the exposure to the virus, which can be debilitating to humans," Suffolk County Health Services Commissioner James Tomarken said in statement.

One human case of West Nile virus has been confirmed so far this year on Long Island, that of a man older than 60 in the Town of Hempstead who was hospitalized in mid-August and was recovering, said a Nassau County health department spokeswoman. The county also is reporting 106 mosquito samples testing positive for the virus, she said.

Some mosquito bites can transmit West Nile to humans, with mosquitoes picking up the virus by feeding on infected birds.

In some cases, the virus causes serious neurological illnesses that can lead to permanent conditions or death. Last year, 2,469 cases of human infection were reported in the United States, resulting in 119 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Four human West Nile cases and no deaths were reported in Suffolk last year, with eight human cases and no deaths in Nassau, officials said.

Residents are advised to eliminate stagnant water, where mosquitoes breed, in and around their homes; to minimize outdoor activities and cover their skin in the evening and night when mosquitoes are most active; and to use mosquito repellent outdoors.

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