Hauppauge - (WALK) An unwelcome summer visitor is back: health officials in Suffolk say mosquito samples and two dead birds indicate West Nile virus is back on the scene.
Four mosquito samples collected in East Northport, Northport and Huntington on July 9 tested positive; two dead crows recovered in Nesconset on July 18 also proved positive according to Suffolk County health officials Friday.
West Nile virus was first detected on Long Island in 1999 in mosquito samples collected in Suffolk County and each year since then. The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. No humans nor horses have tested positive for West Nile virus this year, according to officials.
"While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which can be debilitating to humans," said Dr. James L. Tomarken, Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. Last year 14 Long Islanders contracted the West Nile virus. One case in Nassau was fatal.
To reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus, authorities encourge residents to remove standing water (to remove mosquito breeding sites), and to limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk.
Other tips for avoiding mosquitoes and the risk of contracting West Nile virus include: using mosquito repellents; wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeve shirts when outdoors for long periods of time; and making sure doors and windows have screens that are in good repair.
Health officials also urge residents to report dead birds, which may indicate the presence of West Nile Virus.
To report a dead bird call the Suffolk County West Nile virus hotline: 631-787-2200, weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
To report mosquito problems or issues about pools of stagnant water, call the Department of Public Works' Vector Control Division: 631-854-0333.
For medical information about the West Nile virus call: 631-854-0333, or visit the Suffolk County Department of Health Services website: