Sixteen new mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus in the final round of testing in Suffolk County, health officials said on Friday.
The positive samples were collected across the county, including two samples each from Bay Shore and Lindenhurst. This emerges from a published statement from the Suffolk County Department of Health. The samples were collected between August 25 and 27, officials said. Positive samples were also collected in Farmingville, Northport, West Islip, Brentwood, North Babylon, Greenlawn, Copiague, Great River, Setauket, Holtsville, North Patchogue, and East Hampton.
Authorities report that 76 mosquito samples in Suffolk County tested positive this season.
The virus was first discovered in birds and mosquitoes in Suffolk in 1999. They added that it can spread to humans through mosquito bites.
The disease causes mild symptoms for most, but others, including people over 50, can develop a high fever, headache, stiff neck, disorientation and fall into a coma, experts say.
Dr. Gregson Pigott, the district health services officer, said in the statement, “While there is no cause for undue concern, we encourage residents to work with us to reduce exposure to the West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases . ”
To limit exposure, Pigott recommends reducing time outdoors, wearing shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves in areas where mosquitoes are active, and using mosquito repellants.
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Antonio Planas came to Newsday in 2018 and covers the city of Islip. An award-winning reporter and Michigan State University graduate, he has worked for the Boston Herald and the Las Vegas Review Journal.