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29 mosquito samples in Suffolk test positive for West Nile, officials say

A culex pipiens, one of the mosquitoes that

A culex pipiens, one of the mosquitoes that transmits West Nile virus and lives on Long Island. Credit: USGS

Suffolk health officials said Friday that 29 new mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The samples, which were tested between Aug. 7 and 9, were taken from Huntington, Dix Hills, South Huntington, East Northport, North Babylon, West Babylon, Copiague, Smithtown, Bay Shore, Setauket, Farmingville, Ridge, Jamesport, Bridgehampton and East Hampton.

There have been 71 confirmed mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile this year, but no positive human cases, officials said. Three birds have also tested positive.

Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said while there is “no cause for alarm” he advises residents to cooperate with the department in efforts to reduce the exposure to the virus, which can be debilitating to humans.

Mosquito and bird samples first tested positive for the virus in Suffolk County in 1999, and there have been positive tests every year since. The virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites, Tomarken said.

People are urged to take precautions that include minimizing activities from dusk till dawn, wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts and using mosquito repellent, officials said.

Those affected by the virus usually experience mild or no symptoms, but severe effects such as headaches, high fever, paralysis and slipping into a coma, can occur, Tomarken said.

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