Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Sept. 6, 2006

Horse Tests Positive for EEE in Oswego County

The Oswego County Health Department has been notified by the New York State Health Department that a horse on Paradise Road in Palermo has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a rare but serious viral disease. EEE is spread by infected mosquitoes and can cause severe infections in people and horses.

The horse became ill on Aug. 28 and due to rapidly declining health was humanely euthanized on Aug. 29. The Oswego County Health Department made arrangements to have the horse tested for a number of viral diseases including rabies, EEE and West Nile virus.

The county Health Department has been in close consultation with research scientists from the New York State Health Department's arbovirus surveillance program.

"They advise that aerial spraying is not necessary at this time due to the cooler weather we've experienced," said Public Health Director Kathleen Smith. "Conditions will continue to be evaluated. Another aerial spraying could be recommended if conditions warrant.

"At this time of year we will start to see a decline in the numbers of mosquitoes," Smith continued. "Their activity level will also decline. Personal protective measures are a more appropriate response than spraying at this time."

Aerial spraying of the Toad Harbor Swamp and surrounding area on the north shore of Oneida Lake was conducted Aug. 17 after surveillance detected mosquitoes infected with EEE in several mosquito pools in the area.

So far there have been 36 isolations of EEE in Oswego County. All 36 positive mosquito samples were collected prior to the aerial spraying of the north shore of Oneida Lake. Twenty-nine of the 36 came from the collection site south and east of the village of Central Square. The remaining seven isolations were mosquitoes collected from the Toad Harbor Swamp.

County Legislator Fred Beardsley, District 9, Central Square and Hastings, said it is important that area residents remain careful about limiting their exposure to mosquitoes.

"As the temperatures continue to drop, the mosquito population will decline," said Legislator Beardsley. "In the meantime, we urge everyone to continue to protect themselves if they're going to be outside in areas where mosquitoes are active. Use an insecticide that contains DEET, and wear light-colored clothing that covers your arms and legs."

People with questions may call the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. After business hours, they can be reached at 341-0086. Information on EEE is posted on the home page of the Oswego County Web site at www.oswegocounty.com.


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