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

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July 19, 2007

Five More Mosquito Pools Test Positive for EEE in Oswego County

The Oswego County Health Department has been notified that five new pools of mosquitoes, collected last week from the area north of Oneida Lake, have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis.

Public Health Director Kathleen Smith said three of the pools of mosquitoes were collected in the village of Central Square and two were collected from the Toad Harbor Swamp area. The mosquitoes were collected during the week of July 9 through 13 and tested by the state Health Department.

As a result, Oswego County is preparing to conduct aerial spraying of the Toad Harbor Swamp. The schedule and spraying boundaries will be announced to the public through the news media.

“We have notified State Health Commissioner Richard Daines that seven pools of mosquitoes, collected from two different sites, have tested positive for EEE since June 25,” said Smith. “We have requested the declaration of a public health threat and requested permission to conduct aerial spraying over the Toad Harbor Swamp.”

Smith said the virus has been found in a type of mosquito that feeds on birds, not humans.

However, she said, “there is heightened concern over the latest EEE positive mosquito pools due to a number of current environmental and seasonal timing factors, including but not limited to, the number of isolations of the virus within the Village of Central Square, the early season presence of the virus, an established population of human-biting mosquitoes, and the expected first and/or second generation peaks of some species of mosquitoes in the weeks to come.”

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare but serious viral disease spread by mosquitoes that can affect people and horses. In humans, the disease can affect the central nervous system and cause fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle pain. It can be fatal if not treated.

EEE can also infect captive birds such as the ring-necked pheasant and ducks.

“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,” she said. “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.”

To protect themselves from mosquito bites, people should wear shoes and socks, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside around dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Use 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.

To reduce mosquito-breeding sites around the home,

  • 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.

For more information about EEE and other viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes, 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. or visit the New York State Department of Health Web site.

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