Nine mosquitoes and two birds tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County, according to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
The two birds that were sampled were a crow from Stony Brook collected on Aug. 14 and a blue jay from Smithtown on Aug. 18.
“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James L. Tomarken said in a news release. “While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce the exposure to the virus, which can be debilitating to humans.”
Tomarken urged people to reduce stagnant waters where mosquitoes breed in order to reduce their population.
“The breed of mosquito known as Culex pipiens-restuans lay their eggs in fresh water-filled containers, so dumping rainwater that collects in containers around your house is important,” he said.
He also recommended removing all discarded tires on properties, making sure draining gutters properly, changing water in birdbaths, and draining water from pool covers.
Tomarken urged people to avoid mosquito bites by minimizing outdoor activities from dusk to dawn, wearing shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors and using bug spray or repellent. He also suggested making sure all windows and doors have screens and that they are in good shape.
Most people with West Nile virus will not experience severe symptoms, but some can develop a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Neurological effects may be permanent. Those over 50 years old or those with compromised immune systems are urged to take these precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services urges residents to report any dead birds found on their properties because that may indicate the presence of the West Nile virus. They are also encouraged to take a picture of the bird. Residents can report any dead birds to the West Nile virus hotline in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200.
For any medical questions, people can call 631-854-0333. County residents can also go to the Department of Health Services website.