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West Nile Virus Found in Cold Spring Harbor

Photo: CDC

Five mosquito samples recently tested positive for the West Nile Virus in Suffolk County. Here are some tips on avoiding mosquito bites. The samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected on July 25th from Cold Spring Harbor (2), Northport (1), Brentwood (1), and Melville (1). These are the first mosquito samples to test positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County this year.

In addition, two dead birds, one collected in Northport, the other collected in Nesconset, 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. No humans or horses have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk this year.

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 could 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.

Residents can avoid mosquito bites by:

•Minimizing outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.

•Wearing shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active.

•Using mosquito repellent, following label directions carefully.

•Ensuring all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.

•Keeping 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.

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 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

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