Seven new mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County, bringing the total to 100 for the year, county officials said.
Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said the samples tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease, which is capable of infecting a wide range of species, in Lindenhurst, West Babylon, Islip, Rocky Point, Southold and Aquebogue, which had two. The samples were collected between Aug. 20 and Aug. 26.
“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” Tomarken said. “While there is no cause for alarm, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce the exposure to the virus, which can be debilitating to humans.”
In addition to the mosquitoes, nine birds and a horse have tested positive for the virus, Tomarken said. There have been no human cases of West Nile in Suffolk this year, he said.
The horse, stabled in Water Mill, died last month, the health department said.
Mosquito and bird samples first tested positive for the virus in Suffolk in 1999, and there have been positive tests every year since. The virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites.
Most people infected by the virus typically experience mild or no symptoms, but severe effects such as headaches, neck stiffness, high fever, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and slipping into a coma can occur, Tomarken said. Those 50 years or older or with compromised immune systems are considered the most at risk.
People are urged to take precautions that include minimizing activities from dusk till dawn, using mosquito repellent and wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts, officials said.