Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken announced today that three new mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus. The samples collected on September 21 from Dix Hills (1) and Stony Brook (1) and on September 22 from Shelter Island (1), were of the Culex pipiens-restuans species. No mosquito samples tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis this week.
To date this year, 119 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus and four samples have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE). No horses have tested positive for mosquito-borne illness in Suffolk County to date this year.
Suffolk County has reported four human cases of West Nile virus this year, including one death, the first death associated with West Nile virus in the county since 2010. The other three individuals, who were confirmed to have contracted West Nile, have either recovered or are currently recuperating.
The number of human cases of West Nile virus varies each year. Suffolk County reported five human cases in both 2015 and 2016, one case in 2014, and four cases in both 2011 and 2013. Comparatively, the county reported 14 human cases in 2012 and 25 in 2010, the year in which the virus claimed three lives. No lives have been lost due to West Nile virus since 2010. Prior to 2010, the virus claimed two lives in Suffolk County in both 2002 and 2003.
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. West Nile virus may cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Symptoms may include fever, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain, and fatigue. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus. Patients are treated with supportive therapy as needed.
“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” said Dr. 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.”
West Nile virus may cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Symptoms may include fever, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain, and fatigue. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus. Patients are treated with supportive therapy as needed. 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.
To avoid mosquito bites, residents are 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.
- 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.
- Download a copy of Suffolk County’s informational brochure “Get the Buzz on Mosquito Protection,” available in English and Spanish, and share it with your community.
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 at http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/PublicHealth/PreventiveServices/ArthropodborneDiseaseProgram/Mosquitoes.aspx