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West Nile virus found in mosquito samples in Suffolk, officials say

West Nile virus has been found in 11 mosquito samples taken from Suffolk County, health officials said Friday.

The positive samples came from Greenlawn, Holtsville, Mattituck, Melville, Northport, Oakdale, Rocky Point, West Babylon and West Islip, Suffolk County health officials said. The county was informed of the findings by the New York State Department of Health after samples were collected on Sept. 4-5.

None of the new samples tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, officials said.

So far this year Suffolk has reported 68 mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile, with an additional six positive for EEE, officials said. Four birds also have tested positive for West Nile virus, though officials said no humans or horses had tested positive for West Nile in the county this year.

Officials said West Nile virus can cause a range of symptoms, including: fever, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain, and fatigue. There is no specific treatment for the virus. Suffolk health officials ask that residents help control the mosquito population by eliminating standing water on their property.  

To avoid mosquito bites, officials said residents were advised to:

•    Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn;

•    Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active;

•    Use mosquito repellent, following label directions carefully;

•    Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair;

•    And, keep mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside of your home. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out containers that hold water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans and rain barrels.

An informational brochure, “Get the Buzz on Mosquito Protection,” is available in English and Spanish on the county health department website at suffolkcountyny.gov. Additionally, residents are being asked to report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water at the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

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