BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Long Island residents are dealing with historic numbers of West Nile Virus-carrying mosquitoes.
Health officials testing the pesky insects have found 125 positive for West Nile so far this year in Suffolk County, compared with just three positive cases at this time last year.
That high number of infected mosquitoes has some residents concerned.
“I have a deck in my backyard in Baldwin and I cant use it. There are so many mosquitoes,” Claire Puttre told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
There is already one confirmed case of West Nile in Babylon this year. Another possible case needs further testing.
Some symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, muscle aches, stiff neck, and rash.
To combat the insect infiltration, Suffolk and Nassau Counties have been spraying mosquito repellant by air and by ground. But that is not without controversy.
“Having a 16-month-old daughter and a dog, I’m concerned about all the chemicals involved,” one resident told McLogan.
Local officials said the insecticide is not dangerous for the public.
“The dose that we use, the treatments that we use, we have not found there to be any short-or-long term increase in health effects on humans,” Nassau County health commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein told McLogan.
West Nile Virus can be debilitating and sometimes deadly. Barbara Cody of Carle Place lost her husband to the virus after he was bitten by an infected mosquito.
“To go from a just so strong individual and down to just being totally paralyzed, no longer knowing who he was,” Cody told McLogan.
Mosquitoes need standing water to survive, so experts recommend making sure things outside your home like old tires, garbage can lids, and children’s toys are not collecting water.
Meantime, until the West Nile threat is over experts recommend wearing long sleeves and long pants or skirts after dusk.
Are you worried about West Nile Virus? Let us know in the comments section below.