Mosquito Collected in Bridgehampton Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

A mosquito collected in Bridgehampton on Sept. 12 has tested positive for West Nile virus, the Suffolk County health commissioner announced on Thursday.

The mosquito sample from Bridgehampton was one of four collected on Sept. 12 and 13 to test positive for the virus. The others were collected in West Babylon, Huntington Station, and Islip.

To date, 116 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in the county, and four have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis virus. No horses have tested positive for mosquito-borne illness in the county to date this year.

Three county residents have been confirmed as positive for West Nile virus. Five human cases were reported in both 2015 and 2016, one case in 2014, and four in both 2011 and 2013. Fourteen human cases were reported in 2012 and 25 in 2010, a year in which three people died from the virus. No lives have been lost because of West Nile virus since that time. Before 2010, two people died in the county in both 2002 and 2003 as a result of the virus.

"The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area," Dr. James Tomarken, the health commissioner, said in a statement issued on Thursday. "While there is no cause for alarm, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce the exposure to the virus, which can be debilitating to humans."

West Nile virus can cause a range of symptoms including fever, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain, and fatigue. There is no specific treatment; patients are treated with supportive therapy as needed. Individuals, especially those 50 years of age or older, or those with compromised immune systems, who are most at risk, are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

To avoid mosquito bites, residents are advised to minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn; wear shoes and socks, long pants, and long-sleeve shirts when mosquitoes are active; use mosquito repellent, following label directions carefully, and make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.

Once a week, residents are advised to 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 in order to keep mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside houses. 

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