One Mosquito Sample Tests Positive for West Nile Virus
Residents and visitors advised to take precautions
Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott announced today that a mosquito sample has tested positive for West Nile virus. The sample, a Culex salinarius was collected on September 21, 2021 from BayShore (1). To date this season, 111 mosquito samples and four birds have tested positive for West Nile virus.
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.
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.
“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples and birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” said Dr. Pigott. “While there is no cause for alarm, we ask residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”
Dr. Pigott offers the following tips to avoid mosquito bites:
- 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, turn over, or cover containers that hold water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans and rain barrels. Scrub containers.
- 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.
For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website.