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19 new samples test positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County, health officials say

Nineteen new mosquito samples tested positive for West

Nineteen new mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus bringing the total for the year to 99 in Suffolk County, health officials said. Photo Credit: Science Source Images

With 19 new mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile virus, the total for the year is now up to 99 in Suffolk County, health officials reported on Friday.

The new samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected Aug. 17 to 19 in Lindenhurst, West Babylon, Northport, Huntington Station, South Huntington, Greenlawn, Commack, Nesconset, Smithtown, Saltaire on Fire Island, Port Jefferson, Farmingville, Holtsville, Yaphank, Southold and East Hampton.

Two more birds also have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to seven, with the most recent collected in Smithtown.

Nassau County is reporting 43 positive mosquito samples, a health department spokeswoman said.

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

"The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area," said Dr. James L. Tomarken, county health services commissioner.

"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," he said.

In some cases, the virus causes serious neurological illnesses that can lead to health conditions or death.

Nassau had reported four human cases of West Nile and no deaths last year, with Suffolk reporting one case and no deaths.

Last year, 2,205 cases of human infection were reported in the United States, resulting in 97 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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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See videos on how mosquitoes are captured and tested here

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