Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R,C-Riverhead) is hoping to spread awareness of the risks of West Nile virus in New York. Following confirmation from Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott, a mosquito sample in the county tested positive for the virus, the first sample to test positive this year.
“With our warmer weather and accessible ocean, West Nile virus is a real threat, and I’m encouraging the community to be proactive in preventing its transmission,” Giglio said. “We can continue to have fun in the sun, but we should prepare ourselves to have fun and stay safe at the same time. Empty barrels or containers outside that have standing water can attract mosquitoes, so it is a good practice to not leave those out for access. Air conditioning indoors helps prevent mosquitoes as well, along with wearing loose-fitting clothing and even treating it with insecticide. The CDA has several details on what the best practices are on their website.”
West Nile is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito and can lead to death. Most infected people will experience little to no symptoms, but the most severe can be high fever, headaches, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Symptoms can last for weeks, and neurological effects can be permanent. Individuals, especially those aged 50 or older, or those with compromised immune systems, are urged to take precautions.
“I am also calling on the county to develop an overview map of the areas in Suffolk County where mosquitos are the most prevalent and confirm the locations of the previous positive tests. We are lucky that thanks to the work of our farming community and the safe pesticides they use that the situation is not worse, but we can still be proactive in preventing the spread of this virus,” Giglio concluded.