NORTHPORT - Suffolk County health officials say West Nile has been detected in a mosquito that was collected in Northport, marking the first time the virus has been detected in the county this season.
The sample was taken on June 30 and the findings were announced Friday.
Health officials say most people infected with the mosquito-borne virus will experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, West Nile can cause some people to experience severe symptoms including high fever, stiffness, disorientation, weakness, convulsions, vision loss, coma and paralysis.
People who are 50 or older and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk, officials say.
To minimize the risk of contracting the virus, county health officials are urging residents to take the proper precautions, including removing standing water from their properties, minimizing outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active, using mosquito repellent and ensuring all screened doors and windows are in good repair.
Suffolk residents can report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water to the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.
As dead birds may also indicate the presence of West Nile in the area, residents can report dead birds to the county's Public Health Information Line at 631-787-2200 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.