The West Nile virus — a mosquito-spread infection that is potentially deadly in severe cases — was detected in Southampton during Suffolk County Health Services' latest round of testing.
Mosquito samples were collected July 10 through 12 throughout the county, and 15 tested positive, the department reported Friday.
According to Suffolk County Health Services, West Nile virus was first detected in birds and mosquitos in Suffolk in 1999 and again each year thereafter. It is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
The county reports that 30 mosquito samples and six birds have tested positive for the virus so far this season. On the East End, .
Dead birds found in an area may indicate the presence of West Nile virus, according to Suffolk County Health Services. Residents who find dead birds are encouraged to call 631-787-2200 to report them.
County Health Commissioner Dr. James L. Tomarken is calling on residents to help reduce the mosquito population by eliminating stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.
The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program offers this advice:
- Dump out standing water from containers in the yard, including recycling bins with bottle caps and cans, tires, boats, and tarps.
- Clean debris from rain gutters early in spring and check them regularly. If you are unable to clean them, ask your landscaper or pest control technician. A huge number of mosquitoes can result from clogged gutters.
- Clean, filter, and treat pools. Empty children's pools and turn them over when not in use. Keep pool covers clean by propping them up to drain water.
- Encourage natural enemies. For example, stock ornamental ponds with goldfish. Mosquito fish (a type of minnow, also known as Gambusia) devour mosquito larvae. Dragonflies and damselflies are mosquito predators.
- Construct goldfish ponds properly. Large goldfish are unable to reach sloping edges of ponds where mosquitoes breed, so be sure your pond has vertical sides. A pond fountain will also reduce mosquito breeding.
- Change the water in birdbaths and fountains twice a week.
Mosquito problems and stagnant pools of water may be reported to the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
Medical questions may be reported to 631-853-3055.