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NewsHealth

120 Suffolk mosquito samples test positive for West Nile, say officials

A total of 120 Suffolk County mosquito samples have tested positive this year for West Nile virus, with the 14 most recent collected on Aug. 19, 20, 27, 28 and 29, county health officials said Monday.

Of those recent positive samples -- all Culex pipiens-restuans type mosquitoes -- two were collected in Rocky Point, and one each in Huntington, Bay Shore, Dix Hills, West Islip, Nesconset, Huntington Station, North Babylon, West Babylon, Selden, East Setauket, Holtsville and Patchogue, 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.

The first human case of West Nile virus was confirmed this year in Nassau, a county health spokeswoman said Friday. A man older than 60 in the Town of Hempstead was hospitalized in mid-August and is now recovering, she said. The county did not release any other details about the man, who is the first known West Nile victim of 2014 on Long Island.

Seventy-nine mosquito samples also have tested positive in Nassau County, the spokeswoman said.

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

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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 at night, when mosquitoes are most active; and to use mosquito repellent outdoors.

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