West Nile Virus

In September 1999, public health and wildlife officials in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey became aware of an outbreak of mosquito-borne encephalitis. Research found that the West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne virus, caused the encephalitis outbreak never before seen in the Western Hemisphere.

Several dozen individuals in New York City and its suburbs were stricken by the disease; seven people died. Suffolk County did not have any reported cases of the West Nile encephalitis in humans. West Nile infection was also confirmed in hundreds of birds, mainly crows, as well as several horses and other domestic animals.

In response to this outbreak, city and county agencies conducted aerial and ground spraying for mosquito control, before low temperatures brought an end to mosquito activity in November.

The NYS Department of Health (DOH), Suffolk County DOH, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provide general public education and awareness information, as well as bulletins and news releases on specific mosquito activity and control measures. Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) will disseminate information to the campus community as necessary.

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