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Mosquito samples on the North Fork test positive for West Nile virus

Mosquito samples taken in Southold, Jamesport and Aquebogue tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Suffolk County Health Department. The samples — collected between Aug. 13 and Aug. 19 — were among 18 to test positive across Suffolk County.

“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” said Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken. “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.”

Other samples to test positive were located in: West Babylon (1), North Babylon (1), Islip (1), Port Jefferson Station (1) Huntington (1), Bridgehampton (4), and East Hampton (1).

To date, the county has reported 89 mosquito samples and nine birds have tested positive for West Nile Virus. There are no human cases of West Nile virus in Suffolk County.

West Nile virus, first detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999 and again each year thereafter, is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. No humans or horses have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk this year.

According to Dr. Tomarken, most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, but some can develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. The symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Individuals, especially those 50 years of age or older, or those with compromised immune systems, who are most at risk, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Dead birds may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the Public Health Information Line in Suffolk County at 631-852-5999 from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website.