Suffolk mosquitoes test positive for diseases

Published 4:14 pm Friday, August 9, 2019

The city of Suffolk announced Friday it has detected West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in mosquitoes collected from the following areas and neighborhoods:

  • WNV — Bennett’s Harbor, Lakeside, North Street, Philadelphia, Pleasant Hill, Suburban Woods, and West Jericho
  • EEE — Clay Hill Area, Lake Kennedy, Lamb Avenue area, and Suburban Woods

Citizens should be aware that there is increased West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis activity in these areas, and they should take the necessary actions to protect themselves while engaging in outdoor activities.

West Nile Virus infected individuals can show no symptoms, mild symptoms, or severe symptoms. According to medical statistics, 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all. Up to 20 percent of the people who exhibit mild symptoms of WNV have flu-like symptoms and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. In the most severe of cases (1 of 150) of WNV, individuals will develop severe illness, which can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

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Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a very rare human disease that affects five to 10 humans annually in the United States. EEE infection in humans begins with mild flu-like symptoms and progresses into disorientation, seizures, coma and encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain), and in the most severe cases, individuals die. Many that survive are reported to have mild to severe brain damage. It is important to note that there have never been human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis reported in Suffolk.

Horses are commonly found with Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Suffolk. Mosquito Control urges horse owners to vaccinate their horses for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and any other insect-transmitted diseases that could affect their animals. Properly timed and administered vaccinations by a licensed veterinarian can mean a healthy horse during the mosquito season.

Mosquito Control Operations are intensifying their efforts in these areas as a result of these positive test confirmations. Increased mosquito surveillance, treatment of standing water and spraying for adult mosquitoes are also being administered.

You can greatly decrease your chances of contracting WNV and EEE by protecting yourself from excessive mosquito bites while outdoors by following these recommendations:

  • Remain indoors during times of greatest mosquito activity (1 hour before dusk to 1 hour before dawn)
  • Wear loose, long and light-colored clothing when outdoors
  • Use insect repellants containing DEET according to the label instructions.

You can contribute to these efforts by eliminating mosquito-breeding areas around your home and neighborhood by following these steps:

  • Empty water-holding containers — buckets, drums, bottles, tin cans, wheel barrows, potted plant trays, etc.
  • Properly dispose of used tires.
  • Clear roof gutters, downspouts and corrugated drainpipes for any water collection.
  • Clean wading and swimming pools
  • Drain water from tarps
  • Place Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around your home, which include ditches and low lying areas

Free Mosquito Dunks are available to Suffolk citizens at fire stations, the Department of Media & Community Relations office in City Hall, Whaleyville Recreation Center, East Suffolk Recreation Center, and all Suffolk Public Libraries. In order to get your free Mosquito Dunks, you must be 18 years of age or older, have proof of residence in Suffolk, proper picture identification and sign the “Information Sheet” at the location of pick-up. Placing Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water habitats is a common practice used to eliminate mosquito larvae.

For more information about Suffolk Mosquito Control, contact Charles Abadam, Suffolk Mosquito Control Superintendent, at 514-7609, or