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More Suffolk mosquitoes test positive for West Nile

A mosquito, a carrier for the potentially lethal

A mosquito, a carrier for the potentially lethal West Nile virus. Credit: Getty Images

Twenty-two more mosquito samples, collected from Aug. 27 to 30, have tested positive for the West Nile virus, Suffolk County health officials said Monday.

That brings to 148 the number of mosquito samples testing positive this year in Suffolk. Four birds also tested positive, but there have been no human or equine cases so far this year, health officials said.

The most recent positive samples were collected in Huntington, Huntington Station, Greenlawn, East Northport, Dix Hills, Copiague, Lindenhurst, West Babylon, West Islip, Nesconset, Bay Shore, West Bay Shore, Bohemia, Selden, Holtsville, East Setauket, Patchogue and Jamesport.

Some mosquitoes' bites can transmit West Nile to humans. Mosquitoes pick up the virus by feeding on infected birds.

On Sept. 4, Nassau County reported the year's first confirmed human case of West Nile on Long Island, a woman older than 60 from the town of Oyster Bay who had been hospitalized and is now recovering at home. The county also reported 25 positive mosquito samples at that time.

Nationally, last year ranked as the second-worst in terms of West Nile cases since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Nassau and Suffolk counties reported 14 human cases each last year, including one Nassau death.

The positive samples this year indicate "the virus is actively circulating within the mosquito population," according to a statement by James L. Tomarken, commissioner of Suffolk County Health Services. "While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which can be debilitating to humans."

That means eliminating standing water, which can collect in tin cans, birdbaths and discarded tires, and can serve as mosquito breeding grounds.

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