The Suffolk County Department of Health Services announced Friday that 22 mosquito samples with West Nile virus have been detected throughout the county, including one in Blydenburgh County Park.
Blydenburgh County Park has been closed overnight from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m after a mosquito sample tested positive for West Nile virus on July 23.
With Friday's announcement, SCDHS has confirmed 77 mosquito samples and eight birds have tested positive for West Nile Virus this year.
“Though the number of mosquitoes testing positive is historically high for this time of year, we cannot predict if the numbers will continue to be high,” said Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk County Health Services Commissioner, in a statement. “There are many factors, such as weather, that affect mosquito population and activity. “Given that the numbers are high and we are finding samples in virtually all parts of the county, we ask that residents be especially vigilant about reducing their exposure to mosquitoes whenever they can.”
Samples were also found in Northport, South Huntington, Huntington, Holbrook, Bay Shore, Gardiner Park in Islip, Brentwood, Blydenburgh Park in Smithtown, Southampton, Holtsville, Yaphank, Deer Park, Dix Hills, Southold, and Mastic Beach. All samples were collected between July 17 and July 20.
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.
New York State is investigating one possible human case probable for West Nile virus pending further testing, according to the SCDHS. That person was hospitalized for several days and has fully recovered.
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. Those with medical questions about West Nile Virus can call 631-853-3055.
The SCDHS suggests the following measures 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.
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 631-852-4270.