West Nile Virus Found in Huntington, Dix Hills Samples

Mosquitoes in several communities, including Huntington and Dix Hills, have tested positive for the West Nile virus, the Suffolk County Department of Health said Friday.

To date, the county has confirmed nine cases of West Nile virus.

Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said that four samples, including Huntington and Dix Hills, were Culex pipiens-restuans and one was Culiseta melanura, a species that feeds primarily on birds. They were collected between July 10 and July 13.

The Culiseta melanura sample was collected in Yaphank from Southaven County Park on July 11..

To date, the county has confirmed nine cases of 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.

“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” said Dr. Tomarken. “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.”

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.

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