Encephalitis Virus Worries Officials

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services website has detailed information about mosquito testing areas, groundwater contamination, the presence of tick-borne illnesses, and much more. Independent/SCDCHS

The potentially deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus was detected in a mosquito sample taken in Manorville September 18.

The positive test for EEE is the farthest east of the season, and triggered an immediate spraying of the area in question by the Suffolk Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division to destroy larvae. The county did not identify where exactly the sample was taken from.

To date this season, Suffolk County reported 74 mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus, and seven for EEE. On September 17, Suffolk County reported two human cases of West Nile. Suffolk County has had no known human cases of EEE. No horses have tested positive for EEE or West Nile virus in Suffolk County this year either.

Though EEE is rare, it is a potentially deadly illness for humans. The disease is also a concern for horses, though a vaccine is available and recommended.

“We don’t want people to be alarmed, but rather informed,” said Dr. Hames Tomarken, the commissioner of health for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. He emphasized while the Manorville area has been treated for mosquitoes, “We encourage residents to take precautions to avoid being bitten by

Individuals, especially those age 50 and over, or those with compromised immune systems, are urged to take precautions when outdoors. Residents are advised to use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Additionally, avoid going outside from dusk to dawn when most mosquitoes are active, wear long sleeves and long pants when nighttime activity is unavoidable, and eliminate standing water from flowerpots, clogged gutters, recycle bins, birdbaths, toys, and swimming pool and hot tub covers.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the vector control division at 631-852-4270.

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit the SCDHS website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health.

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