Health Services

Mosquitoes and Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Mosquito-borne Diseases

West Nile Virus WNV

West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mild cases of West Nile infection (West Nile fever) may include a slight fever and head and body aches. Severe infections (West Nile encephalitis) may also include muscle weakness and may progress to encephalitis or meningitis.

Symptoms usually occur three to 14 days after exposure. There is no specific treatment for viral infections, other than to treat the symptoms and provide supportive care.  Persons over the age of 50 are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill from West Nile infection. Healthy children and adults are at low risk for serious illness from West Nile virus.  Horses are susceptible to WNV infection and should be vaccinated.

West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. It can be spread by the Culex pipiens mosquito, also known as the northern house mosquito, which is common in Suffolk County. It bites from dusk to dawn. 

West Nile Virus in Suffolk County 2000 - 2015

Year

Mosquito Samples Testing Positive

Humans Cases*

2015

2014

200

186

5 (0)

1

2013

178

5 (0)

2012

210

14 (0)

2011

81

4 (0)

2010

295

25 (3)

2009

17

1

2008

41

9 (0)

2007

12

0

2006

57

2 (0)

2005

76

9

2004

8

0

2003

40

10 (2)

2002

34

8 (2)

2001

68

1 (0)

2000

121

0

* Number in parentheses indicates number of deaths 

 

Additional Resources

New York State Department of Health Information 

Centers for Disease Control West Nile Virus Webpage

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Chikungunya, Dengue & Zika Virus

Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika viruses are spread primarily by the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitoes. Aedes mosquitoes will bite at any time during the day or night. Currently, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are not found in New York. The Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian Tiger mosquito, has been found in Suffolk County since 2004. Aedes albopictus is not currently known to transmit virus in New York. 

Dengue

Globally, dengue is the most common mosquito-borne disease, with 40 percent of the world’s population living in areas with dengue virus transmission. In the U.S., outbreaks of dengue have occurred in the south and Hawaii.

Chikungunya

Historically, Chikungunya has occurred in other parts of the world. In recent years, cases of locally acquired chikungunya virus infections were reported in the Caribbean and Florida.

Zika

Zika virus can be spread through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, sexual contact, or blood transfusions. (See more about Aedes mosquitoes on prior panel.) It can also be passed from mother to fetus during pregnancy. Zika virus outbreaks are occurring in areas of South and Central America and the Caribbean. CDC believes Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where it will spread over time.

Click here for more information about Zika virus.



Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year.

Most persons infected with EEEV have no apparent illness. Severe cases of EEE (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma. EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33 percent mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors.

There is no specific treatment for EEE; care is based on symptoms. You can reduce your risk of being infected with EEEV by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying indoors while mosquitoes are most active. If you think you or a family member may have EEE, it is important to consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis. Horses are susceptible to EEEV infection and should be vaccinated.

 Preventing Mosquito-Borne Diseases 

 

Additional Resources

New York State Department of Health EEE Information

CDC EEE Information

CDC EEE Transmission Information