To date there've been a plethora of mosquito samples that have tested positive for the West Nile virus all over Suffolk County - including those from and nearby .
So far in all, 30 mosquito samples and six birds have tested positive for the virus, but no human or equine cases have been reported yet, according to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
"Right now [West Nile] has been found all over the County - the , the . We also have more mosquito samples testing positive this time than this time last year, but that could change if we have a couple of cold weeks," SCDHS spokesperson Grace Kelly-McGovern told Lindenhurst Patch late Monday.
She said Suffolk health officials are attributing this uptick in West Nile-positive mosquitoes to several factors, only one of which being the mild Winter Long Island experienced this past year.
No Spraying in Yet
However, despite the increased amount of West Nile the SCDHS has found this year, most of the spraying to date seems to be contained to Fire Island.
's has been the only nearby area sprayed so far beyond Fire Island.
And for now it appears the Suffolk County Department of Public Works - the agency that handles the mosquito spraying - hasn't yet scheduled spraying for or the surrounding inland area.
"There are many factors that go into the Department of Public Works' decisions about where to spray, including history," Kelly-McGovern said.
She assured the DPW is on top of the situation in County, though the DPW's mosquito spraying plan this year is not something to which she could definitively speak.
The decision is up to the DPW, with the SCDHS supplying the necessary sample information so the DPW could make informed spraying decisions.
Kelly-McGovern said residents could also call the DPW at 631-852-4270 for the latest information about spraying for mosquitoes around the County.
Education and Prevention
Furthermore, the SCDHS is delivering brochures to libraries, town halls and legislators' offices that serve to educate the public.
"The brochures will offer information about the various kinds of mosquitoes there are in the County - there are more than 50 varieties - and their breeding habits; the various illnesses they carry, besides West Nile - such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis - their symptoms, diagnoses and treatments," she explained.
The brochure also includes information about personal protection against mosquitoes and special information about dumping water.
"Getting rid of any standing water on your property is the best thing residents could do since mosquitoes will lay their eggs in water-filled containers, even kids' toys," she noted.
Those containers might also include bird baths, abandoned tires, empty flower pots, chair cushions and children's pools after each use.
Other precautions residents could take include:
- Making sure windows and door screens don't have holes and tears.
- Trimming overgrown bushes.
- Avoiding going outdoors from dusk to dawn, the peak mosquito-biting hours.
Residents who do go outside at these times of day should wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Insect repellent containing DEET has been proven to be most effective at reducing mosquito bites, assuming they're applied according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Dead birds found on area properties might also indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds call the in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call 631-853-3055 or visit the SCDHS website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health.