For Immediate Release August 3, 2006
Mosquitoes Test Positive for EEE in Oswego County
The Oswego County Health Department has been notified by the New York State Health Department that mosquitoes collected in Oswego County have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The Health Department was notified yesterday that two mosquito pools collected in July by the New York State Department of Health were confirmed to have tested positive. They were collected from the Toad Harbor area in the town of West Monroe and the village of Central Square.
According to Oswego County Director of Public Health Kathleen Smith, the record rainfall in July has contributed to a larger mosquito population than in previous years.
“We have been in constant contact with the State Health Department all summer long. While the County has not run a mosquito surveillance program this year, the State has been doing some mosquito collections as part of a research project they are conducting. We are monitoring the situation to see if additional actions or recommendations will be warranted,” said Smith.
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare but serious viral disease spread by mosquitoes that can affect people and horses. EEE can also cause disease in captive birds such as the ring-necked pheasant, emus, quail and ducks.
In humans, the disease can affect the central nervous system causing fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle pain. Inflammation and swelling of the brain, called encephalitis, is the most dangerous complication. There is no human vaccine for EEE.
“While the chances of a person getting eastern equine encephalitis are small, we should all take steps to reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes around the home. The best way to protect yourself is to stay away from any areas where mosquitoes might concentrate and limit your outside activities during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes will be most active,” said Smith.
She recommends wearing shoes and socks, long sleeve shirts and long pants and using insect repellant containing DEET during dawn and dusk. DEET should be applied over clothing. Always use insect repellants according to the label instructions, she said.
Smith recommends the following ways to protect yourself and reduce mosquito-breeding sites:
· Replace or repair broken screens and install new screens as needed;
· Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar outdoor items that hold water;
· Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outside;
· Clean clogged rain gutters and make sure they continue to work properly;
· Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use;
· Change water in bird baths at least every four days;
· Clear vegetation and debris from edges of ponds;
· Clean chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs;
· Drain water from pool covers; and
· Use landscaping materials to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates.
People with questions may call the health department at 349-3557 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3557, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. After business hours, the department can be reached at 341-0086.