Health officials ask residents to remove standing water which quickly becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, whose larvae can be seen in this pot. Photo: Adobe Stock

Twenty-six new mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus, Suffolk County Health Commissioner Gregson Pigott announced today.

Three of the samples were taken in Aquebogue, according to a health department press release.

The samples, all Culex pipiens-restuans, were collected on July 27 locations across Suffolk County: Dix Hills (1), Melville (1) Copiague (1), Lindenhurst (2), West Babylon (7) Nesconset (1), West Islip (2), Islip (1),Port Jeff Station (1), Setauket (1), Selden (3), Holtsville (2) and Aquebogue (3).

To date, 38 samples have tested positive, the health department said.

West Nile virus, first detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk County in 1999 and again each year thereafter is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Most people infected with West Nile virus will experience mild or no symptoms, the health department said, but some can develop severe symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

Symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. People are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes — especially people age 50 or older and people of all ages with compromised immune systems. Older people and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk for more serious symptoms, if they become infected.

“The 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 alarm, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”

To avoid mosquito bites:

  • Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
  • Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active.
  • Use mosquito repellent, following label directions carefully.
  • Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
  • Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside of your home. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out containers that hold water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans and rain barrels.

Suffolk County offers a free informational brochure, “Get the Buzz on Mosquito Protection,” available for download in English and Spanish, and share it with your community.

Dead birds may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the Bureau of Public Health Protection at 631-852-5999 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.