top of page

West Nile Virus Cases Detected in Suffolk County

John Carricato

Aug 29, 2023

First reported instances this season

The Suffolk County Health Services Commissioner, Dr. Gregson Pigott, has confirmed the presence of two cases of West Nile virus in the county, marking the first reported instances this season.


The initial case involves an individual over the age of 50 residing in the Town of Southampton. The individual fell ill in mid-July, exhibiting symptoms in line with West Nile virus. After a brief hospitalization, they are now recuperating at home.


The second case pertains to an individual also over 50, residing in the Town of Huntington. This person became ill in mid-August, leading to hospitalization. Fortunately, they are now in a state of recovery.


Dr. Pigott emphasized, "Given that the symptoms of West Nile virus may resemble other conditions, it's crucial for residents experiencing symptoms to consult a healthcare professional. A conclusive diagnosis requires a lab test."


West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquito bites and about 20 percent of those infected will exhibit noticeable symptoms. Mild symptoms can include fever, headaches, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. More severe symptoms encompass high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, convulsions, and muscle weakness. In some cases, the virus can be fatal. While there isn't a specific treatment for West Nile virus, patients might receive supportive therapy.


Individuals at a higher risk of severe infection are those aged 50 and above, along with those with chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems. Residents are advised to undertake precautionary measures during mosquito season, lasting from June 1 to November 1.


To repel mosquitoes, utilize insect repellent containing DEET and treat clothing with permethrin-based repellent. Minimize outdoor activity between dusk and dawn, wear long sleeves and pants when required, and remove standing water from various sources.


The incidence of human West Nile virus cases varies annually. Suffolk County recorded eleven cases in 2022, eight in 2021, five in 2020, three in 2019, 11 in 2018, and six in 2017. In comparison, the county reported 25 cases in 2010, a year when the virus claimed three lives. Additionally, two fatalities due to West Nile virus were reported in 2017.


For comprehensive information about West Nile virus, visit the Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ website. To report mosquito-related issues or stagnant pools of water, contact the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

bottom of page