Just days after the first human case of West Nile virus was confirmed in Suffolk County this year, health officials said Monday that 19 additional mosquito samples tested positive for the virus, including a sample in North Patchogue.
The positive samples announced this week were detected between Aug. 9-11 in North Patchogue and towns including Huntington Station, Greenlawn, Northport, East Northport, West Babylon and East Commack.
Other samples were found in Holbrook, Holtsville, Dix Hills, Selden, Ridge, Lindenhurst, Port Jefferson Station, Bay Shore, Copiague and Aquebogue. A total of 50 mosquito samples, including in the Patchogue area, have tested positive for the virus so far, the health department said.
“The confirmation of West Nile virus in a mosquito pool indicates that the virus is actively circulating within the mosquito population,” said Dr. James Tomarken, commissioner of Suffolk County Health Services. “While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which can be debilitating to humans.”
According to 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.
On Aug. 18, the county health department confirmed the first human case of West Nile this year. In that case, an adult younger than age 55 from the Town of Huntington, experienced fever, chills, body aches and swollen lymph nodes starting early this month and lasting five days. The unidentified individual was not hospitalized and has fully recovered.
Three people in Suffolk and three in Nassau in 2010 after being infected with the virus.
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 outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are more active.
• Use mosquito repellent when outdoors, following label directions carefully.
• Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
Use the following contacts for more information on mosquitoes and West Nile:
To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call 631-853-3055.
For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health.