FARMINGVILLE, NY E HOLTSVILLE, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) – Mosquito samples within Sachem – in Farmingville and Holtsville – and neighboring North Patchogue are among the largest number of West Nile virus cases reported to date this season. The samples were among 16 positive tests for the virus from across Suffolk County over the past week, health officials announced Friday afternoon.
Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr Gregson Pigott announced that the additional 16 mosquito samples tested positive from samples collected August 25-27 at Bay Shore, Brentwood, Copiague, East Hampton, Farmingville, Great River , Greenlawn, Holtsville, Northport, West Islip, North Babylon, North Patchogue, Lindenhurst and Setauket. Bay Shore and Lindenhurst each had two positives and all the other communities had one positive each.
“Confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” Pigott said. “While there is no cause for undue concern, we advise residents to work with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”
West Nile virus through Sachem
In the Sachem area prior to today’s announcement, the most recent sample of test positive came from Farmingville during the sample test on 19 and 20 August. The first positive within Sachem came from a Holtsville sample collected in mid-July. This was followed by another champion in nearby North Patchogue, just outside Sachem, during the following week and then another from Farmingville on August 6.
West Nile virus in Suffolk County
To date, 76 mosquito samples and four birds have tested positive for West Nile virus this season.
Before the 16 positives announced on Friday, there were 14 positives reported on 27 August from August 19th and 20th collections to Bay Shore, Brentwood, Cold Spring Harbor, Farmingville, Islip, Lindenhurst, Northport, Rocky Point, Stony Brook and West Babylon.
Nine positives were announced on 21 August from the August 11 and 12 collections to Bay Shore, Cold Spring Harbor, Copiague, Greenlawn, Northport, West Babylon and West Islip.
Fourteen positives were announced on 13 August from the August 6 collections from Bay Shore, Bohemia, Brentwood, Cold Spring Harbor, Copiague, Farmingville, Northport and West Islip.
August 6 Five positive samples were announced from samples collected July 28 in Bay Shore, Brentwood, Greenlawn and Northport.
Fifteen positive samples they were reported on July 30 from collections of July 21 and 22. These positives came from Bay Shore, Brentwood, Great River, Huntington Station, Islip, North Patchogue, Stony Brook, and West Babylon.
On July 24, Pigott said two samples were positive from specimen collection on July 14 and 15 in Bay Shore and Holtsville.
These positives followed the county’s July 16 announcement of first positive champion of the season, from a July 9 collection in Bay Shore.
Health impacts of West Nile virus
There hasn’t been a human case yet this year in Suffolk County. The county reported two human cases in September 2019. In these cases, a person developed symptoms and was hospitalized for several days before being discharged. The second individual was hospitalized for West Nile encephalitis and was also discharged.
West Nile virus was first detected in bird and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999 and annually thereafter.
The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, but some may develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, muscle weakness, loss of sight, numbness and paralysis, according to the health department. Symptoms can last for several weeks, and the neurological effects can be permanent. Individuals, particularly those aged 50 and over, or those with compromised immune systems, who are most at risk, are advised to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Avoid mosquito bites to prevent West Nile virus
Pigott offers the following tips for avoiding mosquito bites:
• Minimize outdoor activities between sunset and sunrise.
• Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active.
• Use a mosquito repellent, carefully following the directions on the label.
• Make sure that all windows and doors are fitted with mosquito nets and that all mosquito nets are in good condition.
• Prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside your home. Once a week, empty and scrub containers that hold water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flower pot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, bird tubs, trash cans, and barrels for the rain.
Download a copy of the Suffolk County information booklet “Get the Buzz on Mosquito Protection”, available at English is Spanishand share it with your community, the health department encouraged.
Report dead birds and mosquito problems
Dead birds may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the Public Health Protection Office at 631-852-5999 from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.
To report mosquito problems or standing puddles, call the Department of Public Works Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
For more information on the West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services website.