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

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Aug. 11, 2009

Horse Contracts EEE in Oswego County

ALBION -- A horse in the Oswego County town of Albion has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), the Oswego County Health Department reported today.

Public Health Director Dr. Dennis Norfleet said the horse was exposed to the virus during the middle of July. The horse was humanely euthanized and a tissue specimen was submitted to the New York State Health Department’s Wadsworth Center lab for testing.

Dr. Norfleet said the County Health Department’s recently completed aerial spraying of the Toad Harbor/Big Bay area on Saturday, Aug. 8, has “substantially reduced” the mosquito population in the area where EEE traditionally originates each season.

Mosquitoes are routinely collected from a location near where the horse resided. No evidence of the EEE virus has been found in any of the pools of mosquitoes from this area.

“While the chances of a person getting Eastern equine encephalitis are small, residents should continue to take personal protective measures,” said Dr. Norfleet. “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 against mosquito bites, people should wear shoes and socks, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when outside around dawn and dusk. Insect repellant containing DEET is most effective. It should be applied over clothing and only used according to the label instructions.

  • To reduce mosquitoes 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.

“At this time we do not plan to conduct additional aerial spraying in either the Toad Harbor/Big Bay area or the town of Albion,” said Dr. Norfleet. “Our staff remains in close consultation with research scientists from the New York State Health Department’s arbovirus surveillance program. We will continue to collect mosquitoes from both areas and monitor the situation very closely.”

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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