Suffolk County health officials announced the activation of this year’s West Nile hotline as part of its continuing effort to detect and to prevent the spread of West Nile virus in the county. West Nile virus infects birds and is spread to humans by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds and then humans.
Residents are encouraged to report sightings of dead birds that could potentially be infected with the virus to the Department of Health Services’ Public Health Hotline at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours, residents can leave messages, which will be monitored by the department’s surveillance team..
Birds that meet the Department of Health Services’ criteria will be picked up between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. If a reported bird is not needed for testing, callers will be advised to double-bag the dead bird using a shovel and gloves and dispose of it in the trash or to bury it at least three feet deep away from streams or other water sources.
To reduce the mosquito population around homes, residents should eliminate stagnant water:
- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.
- Remove all discarded tires on the property.
- Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Change the water in birdbaths.
- Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds and keep shrubs and grass trimmed.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
- Drain water from pool covers.
To avoid mosquito bites, residents are advised to:
- Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
- Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are more active.
- Use mosquito repellent when outdoors, following label directions carefully.
- Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
To report dead birds, call the West Nile hotline 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.
For further information on West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health Services’ website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health.