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More Skeeters Test Positive for West Nile Virus

Skeeter

Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) Commissioner James L. Tomarken, MD, MSW, MPH, MBA, FRCPC, FACP, has been notified by the New York State Department of Health that 12 additional mosquito samples sent to their laboratory have tested positive for West Nile virus.  These samples were collected August 3rd through August 5th in Deer Park, East Setauket, Greenlawn, Holbrook, Holtsville, Huntington Station: (2);  Melville, Port Jefferson Station, Selden and West Islip (2).

This year, a total of 99 mosquito samples, collected from various places in the county, have tested positive for West Nile virus. A total of 16 birds have tested positive in 2010.

To protect the public, the county has closed Southaven County Park and Blydenburgh County Park from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and all activities have been suspended during those hours. The county will continue to collect samples at both parks and will recommend resumption of dusk-to-dawn activities at these two facilities when the parks are considered to be safe.

West Nile virus, first detected in Suffolk in 1999 and again each year thereafter through 2010, is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. New York State has confirmed one human case of West Nile virus in 2010.

To reduce the mosquito population around homes, residents should try to eliminate stagnant water:

·        Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.

·        Remove all discarded tires on the property.

·        Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters.

·        Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.

·        Change the water in birdbaths.

·        Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds and keep shrubs and grass trimmed.

·        Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.

·        Drain water from pool covers.

While most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, some can develop severe symptoms including: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. 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.

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 all screens are in good repair.

Dead birds found on area properties may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the West Nile virus hotline in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 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.

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.

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