The Suffolk County Department of Health Services announced on Monday that one mosquito sample infected with West Nile virus has been found in East Setauket.
“The confirmation of West Nile virus in a mosquito pool indicates that the virus is actively circulating within the mosquito population,” said Dr. Tomarken. “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.”
So far this summer, infected mosquito samples were also found in Port Jefferson Station, Amagansett, Farmingville, Northport, Dix Hills, and Nesconset. One dead bird was also found to have been infected with West Nile virus.
West Nile, which has become a repeat problem on Long Island in the summer, is particularly dangerous to humans for the neurological effects it could present. However, no human cases have been reported this summer.
According to the SCDHS, most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, but some can develop symptoms such as high fever, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
The symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Individuals, particularly those 50 years of age or older, or those with compromised immune systems, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
The county advised residents to minimize activity outdoors between dusk and dawn, use mosquito repellant, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors during periods of mosquito activity, and make sure windows and doors have screens in good repair. The county also issued tips for residents to employ to reduce the mosquito population around their homes, including:
- Remove items like tin cans, ceramic pots, plastic containers, and tires which act as water-holding devices;
- Clean clogged gutters and make sure they drain properly;
- Frequently change the water in birdbaths;
- Turn over items like wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use;
- Keep shrubs and grass trimmed, and keep vegetation and debris away from the edges of ponds;
- Drain water from pool covers;
- Make sure swimming pools, hot tubs, and outdoor saunas are clean and chlorinated.
The county also advised that dead birds may indicate the presence of West Nile, and anyone who finds a dead bird should call the county's West Nile hotline at 631-787-2200 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Mosquito problems and stagnant pools of water can be reported to the Department of Public Works' Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
For medical questions pertaining to West Nile virus, residents can call 631-853-3055 or visit the Department of Health Services website.