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

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September 11, 2009

Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Oswego and Onondaga Counties

The Oswego County Health Department and the Onondaga County Health Department jointly announced today that a case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been reported in an adult resident of Oswego County. This summer, EEE activity has been widespread across both Oswego and Onondaga Counties.

Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Public Health Director, and Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Onondaga County Health Commissioner, reinforced that all residents need to remain vigilant by using the following personal protection measures to help reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illness:

Personal protection measures:

  • Wearing shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period of time
  • Avoiding outside activity during prime mosquito feeding times (dawn and dusk)
  • Applying a repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and IR3535 is recommended to prevent mosquito bites (follow manufacturers instructions on proper use).

Preventive measures:

  • Throw away outdoor tin cans, plastic containers, or similar outdoor items that collect water
  • Remove tires from your property
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors
  • Clean clogged rain gutters
  • Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use
  • Change water in bird baths every four days
  • Clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
  • Clean chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs
  • Drain water from pool covers
  • Use landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates

Dr. Norfleet explained, "We conducted two aerial spraying events in Oswego County this summer, which have significantly reduced virus activity in the area. At this time, we have no plans to conduct a third event; however, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, along with the Onondaga County Health Department and the New York State Department of Health."

Dr. Morrow explained, "We were informed late yesterday that three additional mosquito pools collected last week tested positive for EEE, each from traps at the Cicero Swamp. After consultation with the New York State Department of Health it was determined that aerial spraying of the Cicero Swamp and the immediate surrounding areas is warranted to help reduce the mosquito population, interrupt the disease cycle, and prevent the virus from spreading further." Morrow also stated that spraying would be done on September 14, 2009 after 6 p.m., weather permitting. Those affected in the spray area will be notified in advance through the Emergency Notification System (reverse 911).

The pesticide that will be used for the aerial spraying application is Kontrol. Kontrol is a product that contains the ingredient Permethrin and is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for this use. While the product will be applied at a very low concentration, and is not expected to cause any adverse health effects, Cicero residents in the spray area are advised to avoid being unnecessarily exposed to the pesticide.

The Onondaga County Health Department is recommending residents in the spray areas:

  • Stay indoors and keep windows closed during spraying. Windows can be opened one hour after spraying has been done.
  • Keep pets indoors during spraying, if possible.
  • If you have a window air conditioner, set your unit so it circulates indoor air (close the vents that let in the outdoor air) both during the spraying and for one hour after the spraying has been completed. If unsure of how to close the vents on a window air conditioner, then it should be turn it off. Central air conditioning can be left on during spraying.
  • Remove childrens' toys that are outdoors, any outdoor furniture and, clothes from outdoor clotheslines. If toys or clothes have been left outdoors be sure to wash each thoroughly with soap and water before using and launder clothing before wearing.
  • If you are driving during the spraying, close your car windows and vents.
  • Cover gardens or rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Oswego County and Onondaga County will continue surveillance and take additional measures as warranted.

EEE is a virus, caused by the bite of a mosquito, and can cause a range of symptoms. These symptoms may include headaches, fever and nausea, or in extreme cases, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), coma or even death.

For more information in Onondaga County about Eastern Equine Encephalitis and mosquito-borne illness contact the Onondaga County Health Department, Division of Environmental Health at 435-1649 or visit www.ongov.net /Health.

For more information in Oswego County call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. After business hours, please call 315-341-0086 or visit the New York State Department of Health Web site at www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/eastern_equine_encephalitis/fact_sheet.htm.

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