09/17/13 5:00pm
09/17/2013 5:00 PM
DANIEL GILREIN COURTESY PHOTO | An adult deer tick, which are known to  carry pathogens causing Lyme disease, babesiosis or anaplasmosis. Adult ticks are active in spring and late fall, according to Daniel Gilrein, entomologist at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

DANIEL GILREIN COURTESY PHOTO | An adult deer tick, which are known to carry pathogens causing Lyme disease, babesiosis or anaplasmosis.

In an effort to combat tick-borne illnesses, county Legislature Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) has introduced new legislation to step up pressure on Suffolk County Vector Control, which is in charge of controlling the spread of insect-borne diseases.

The proposed law would require Vector Control to submit an annual plan that indicates steps being taken to reduce the incidence of tick-borne illnesses — including work to be done, active measures being taken and an analysis to determine the effectiveness of the program.

The division has reportedly focused mainly on mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile, according to a release from Mr. Schneiderman.

Area hospitals reported a spike in tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease earlier this year.

Nearly 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported nationally each year, while 1,000 cases of West Nile are reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lyme disease is now the most widespread vector-borne disease in the U.S., but cases are often underreported across the U.S., according to the CDC.

It is estimated only 10 percent of total cases nationally are reported, CDC officials said.

“Towns and villages are struggling to develop plans to respond to the growing Lyme disease cases,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “The county should be playing a leadership role in prevention.”

County Legislator Al Krupski, a co-sponsor of the bill, called Lyme disease an epidemic on the east end of Long Island.

“Most of us have been impacted in some way by tick-borne disease,” he said in a release. “Suffolk County needs to play an active role to control this growing health problem.”

Mr. Schneiderman said the county has, however, done a good job preventing West Nile.

While mosquito and bird samples have tested positive for the virus, no humans have tested positive for West Nile so far this year, according to the county health department officials.

cmiller@timesreview.com

08/23/13 4:00pm
08/23/2013 4:00 PM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | West Nile Virus was found in a mosquito sample taken in Aquebogue.

Suffolk County health officials announced Friday that 17 more mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus, including one in Aquebogue.

Positive samples, collected between July 30, also came from mosquito traps in Nesconset, Port Jefferson Station and elsewhere in western Suffolk County.

Health officials do not disclose exactly where the traps are located.

To date, 107 mosquito samples and four birds have tested positive for the virus. No humans or horses have tested positive for the virus in Suffolk County this year, officials said.

“The confirmation of West Nile virus in a mosquito pool indicates that the virus is actively circulating within the mosquito population,” says James Tomarken, the Suffolk County Health and Human Services commissioner. “While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which can be debilitating to humans.”

Residents can reduce the mosquito population around their homes by eliminating stagnant water where mosquitoes breed, officials say.

Dead birds found on area properties may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the West Nile virus hotline in Suffolk County at (631) 787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call (631) 854-0333.

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

For further information on mosquitos and mosquito-borne diseases, visit the Department of Health Services website and look under “Seasonal Trends.”

Related: Tips to help prevent the spread of West Nile virus

06/08/13 7:00pm
06/08/2013 7:00 PM

mosquito spray north fork

To help detect and prevent the spread of the West Nile virus, an infection transmitted by mosquitos, the county Department of Health Services has issued healthcare tips and activated a public health hotline.

West Nile virus is spread to humans by mosquitoes that have fed on birds infected with the virus.

Residents who see dead birds, such as crows, blue jays and hawks that may have been infected are encouraged to report sightings to the Department of Health Services’ public health hotline at 631-787-2200 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline will be active until Labor Day.

Birds meeting department criteria will be picked up between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to be tested for the virus. Humans cannot catch West Nile virus directly from birds, according to a county press release.

Residents are also advised to eliminate areas of stagnant water around their homes. To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, residents can call the Department of Public Works Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

“Most people experience no symptoms from West Nile virus, however, some people will develop severe symptoms,” said Dr. James Tomarken, commissioner of Health Services.

Symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, he said.

“The symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent,” Dr. Tomarken said.

To reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes, residents are advised to use mosquito repellent when outdoors and ensure windows and doors to homes have screens, keeping mosquitoes out.

For further information on mosquitos and mosquito-borne diseases, visit the Department of Health Services website and look under “Seasonal Trends.”

cmiller@timesreview.com

05/28/13 6:14pm
05/28/2013 6:14 PM

Seven locations across Riverhead, Aquebogue, Jamesport, and Flanders will be treated for mosquito larvae Wednesday, county officials announced.

Pier Avenue and Indian Island in Riverhead, Overlook, Crescent Duck Farm, and Aquebogue Farm in Aquebogue, Iron Point in Flanders, and Millar Farm in Jamesport will all be sprayed with Vectobac 12 AS pesticide by helicopter from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to the Suffolk County Department of Public Works’ Division of Vector Control.

Kerwin Boulevard, Pipes Neck Creek and Pipes Cove in Greenport will also be sprayed.

Residents are unlikely to be exposed to the pesticides and “the products involved have no significant human toxicity,” a press release states.

“It’s all salt-marsh area so it’s not near any residential areas,” said spokesperson Grace Kelly-McGovern.

The pesticide is registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and are applied in accordance with the required state and federal permits, county officials said.

Should weather conditions stop the operation, treatment will continue on the next suitable day. Residents don’t need to take precautions against the pesticide, as the helicopter will be flying at “a very low level” over marsh areas.

For more information, call the Suffolk County Division of Vector Control at (631) 852-4270 or the Spraying Information Hotline (631) 852-4939.

psquire@timesreview.com

09/01/12 3:51pm
09/01/2012 3:51 PM

Suffolk County health officials announced Friday that seven more mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus, including one in Aquebogue.

Positive samples, collected between Aug. 21 and Aug. 22, also came from mosquito traps in Holtsville, Northport, South Huntington, West Babylon and Dix Hills.

Health officials do not disclose exactly where the traps are located.

To date, 199 mosquito samples and 37 birds have tested positive for the virus. The health department stopped testing mosquito samples and dead birds for West Nile on Aug. 31.

The first human case of West Nile virus infection in Suffolk County was confirmed on Aug. 6. In that case an adult younger than 55 from Babylon Town had experienced fever, headache, muscles aches and a stiff neck before he was hospitalized for four days. He has since recovered, officials said.

The department later confirmed another case in which a man older than 55 from Huntington Town was hospitalized for several days in July and has fully recovered.

“Though the number of mosquitoes testing positive is historically high for this time of year, we cannot predict if the numbers will continue to be high,” said James Tomarken, the Suffolk County Health and Human Services commissioner. “There are many factors, such as weather, that affect mosquito population and activity. “Given that the numbers are high and we are finding samples in virtually all parts of the county, we ask that residents be especially vigilant about reducing their exposure to mosquitoes whenever they can.”

Residents can reduce the mosquito population around their homes by eliminating stagnant water where mosquitoes breed, officials said
For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call (631) 854-0333 during normal business hours.

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

mwhite@timesreview.com