Suffolk County health officials are urging residents to take precautions outdoors after two more mosquito samples recently tested positive for the potentially deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.
Two samples of the culiseta melanura mosquito species collected Oct. 1 in the Manorville area tested positive for the rare virus. That follows other samples that tested positive July 31 and Sept. 18 in the Manorville area.
The Suffolk County Department of Public Works will treat sections of Manorville and Calverton by truck with ultra low volume aerosol Saturday night to control the breeding of adult mosquitoes. Treatments are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The approximate location is from River Road at the Swan Lake Golf Course, north to Grumman Boulevard and east to Mill Road and south to the Long Island Expressway.
Children and pregnant women should take care to avoid exposure when practical. If possible, remain inside or avoid the area whenever spraying takes place for about 30 minutes after spraying. Officials said chances of experiencing any health effects from spraying are “quite low.”
An additional 77 Culex pipiens-restuans mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus, including samples taken from Jamesport and Mattituck, according to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
Two human cases of West Nile virus have been reported, officials said.
“We don’t want people to be alarmed but rather informed,” Suffolk County commissioner of health services Dr. James Tomarken said in a statement. Additional pesticide applications were conducted Sept. 28 in the Manorville area south of Grumman Boulevard.
According to data from the New York State Department of Health, 56 EEE-positive mosquito pools have been identified statewide, but no human cases of infection reported to date this year.
Cases of the virus in five horses and one goat had been reported to the state as of Sept. 26. None of those cases occurred in Suffolk County, Dr. Tomarken said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists EEE symptoms as chills, fever, malaise and myalgia — more severe cases can result in encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
Approximately one-third of all people with EEE die from the disease. Though horses can be vaccinated, no human vaccine exists.
Officials in several states have issued warnings to residents — use repellent; eliminate standing water from flower pots, pool covers and birdbaths to prevent breeding ground for the insects; ensure windows and doors are screened — in light of an uptick in human cases of EEE this year.
Data from the CDC show 28 cases reported by seven states in 2019; only six cases were reported in 2018.
Ten human cases have been reported in Massachusetts and four in Connecticut this year. According to a press release issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, three of those cases have resulted in death. Nine EEE deaths have been reported nationally.
A CDC map of reported cases shows that the virus affects mostly the Atlantic and Gulf states. In a statement, Dr. Matthew Cartter, an epidemiologist with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, said 2019 has been an “unprecedented year” for EEE in Connecticut.
Though rare, EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases found in the United States. Residents are urged to protect against mosquitoes even as temperatures begin to cool. Mosquitoes remain active until the first hard frost, according to health officials.