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West Nile in HHH Contributes to Largest Outbreak in US History

CDC announces that recent cases constitute largest occurrence since 1999.

Positive mosquito samples found in Half Hollow Hills this summer have contributed to the largest breakout of West Nile virus in U.S. History, the Center for Disease Control announced Wednesday.

According to the CDC, a total of 1,118 cases in people, including 41 deaths, have been reported. The numbers are the highest level of instances reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. 

In Suffolk County, 175 mosquitoes, including , have tested positive for the virus, as well as 21 birds and one person (Town of Babylon).

The first human case in Nassau County was confirmed Wednesday as well, in the Town of Oyster Bay.

“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,” James L. Tomarken, commissioner for the Department of Health Services said in a statement. “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.”

According to the CDC, almost half of all U.S. cases this year have been reported from Texas.

Residents can reduce the mosquito population around their homes, by eliminating stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.  The county offers a bulletin entitled “Mosquitoes and Mosquito-borne Illnesses,” which contains tips on personal protection and repellents.

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 at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270. For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call 631-853-3055. 

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