West Nile Found in East Hampton and Bridgehampton Mosquitoes
A second mosquito collected from East Hampton in 2018 has tested positive for West Nile virus, as has a sample collected in Bridgehampton.
James Tomarken, commissioner of the Suffolk County Health Department, announced on Friday that 18 new mosquito samples had tested positive for West Nile virus. Along with the mosquitoes collected in East Hampton and Bridgehampton, samples to test positive were collected in Southold, West Babylon, North Babylon, Islip, Port Jefferson Station, Huntington, Aquebogue, and Jamesport.
The county has reported that 89 mosquito samples and nine birds have tested positive for virus this year. To date, there are no human cases of West Nile in the county.
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.
"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," Dr. Tomarken said in a release.
Most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, but some 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 or older, or those with compromised immune systems, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
These include limiting outdoor activities between dusk and dawn; wearing shoes and socks, long pants, and long-sleeve shirts when mosquitoes are active; wearing mosquito repellent, making sure windows and doors have screens that are in good repair; and keeping mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside of the home by emptying and scrubbing, turning over, covering, or discarding containers that hold water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans, and rain barrels. The county's informational brochure is available here.
Because dead birds may indicate the presence of West Nile virus, residents have been asked to report dead birds by calling the county's public health information line at 631-852-5999 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works' vector control division at 631-852-4270.