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West Nile virus found in 21 more mosquito samples in Suffolk

Twenty-one more mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile virus bring to 46 the total in Suffolk County this season, health officials said Friday.

The most recent positive samples were collected from July 29 to Aug. 1, with six in West Babylon, five in Copiague, two each in East Northport and Brentwood, one each in Huntington Station, East Setauket, Rocky Point, Yaphank, Bay Shore and Lindenhurst. Seven birds also have tested positive, officials said.

"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.

To date, 24 samples have tested positive in Nassau County, a spokeswoman said.

West Nile can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. 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.

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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