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Suffolk: 137 mosquito samples test positive for West Nile virus

In this undated file photo provided by the

In this undated file photo provided by the USDA, an aedes aegypti mosquito is shown on human skin. Credit: AP

A total of 137 Suffolk County mosquito samples have tested positive this year for West Nile virus, with the most recent collected from Aug. 25 to 29, county health officials said Tuesday.

Of the most recent positive samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, one each was collected from Heckscher State Park in Islip, Blydenburgh Park in Smithtown and Gardiner Park in West Bay Shore, officials said.

The health department has contacted New York State Parks, advising that activities at Heckscher be contained to 8 a.m. through 6 p.m., according to a news release. Blydenburgh and Gardiner parks were closed to evening activity earlier this season, officials said.

Also confirmed were two positive samples each in Dix Hills, West Islip, Copiague and Bay Shore, with one each in Huntington, Northport, North Babylon, Brentwood, Holbrook and Rocky Point.

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. No human cases have been reported in Suffolk so far.

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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.

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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