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July 30, 2010

More Mosquitoes Test Positive for EEE in Oswego County-
Oswego County Plans Aerial Spraying Week of Aug. 2

Oswego County Public Health Director Dr. Dennis Norfleet announced today that a total of eight pools of mosquitoes collected near the village of Central Square and the Toad Harbor Swamp area have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

"The virus activity is developing into a situation very similar to what we had in 2009 when we had a case of human EEE in Oswego County," said Dr. Norfleet. "The health department is preparing to conduct aerial spraying of the Toad Harbor and Big Bay swamps by the middle or late next week. The aerial spraying schedule will be announced to the public through the news media."

"This is the same area where the EEE virus has been active in the past, and we have indications that the virus will continue to be active. Therefore, an imminent threat to public health has been declared," said Dr. Norfleet.

The area will include about 10,000 acres in the Toad Harbor and Big Bay swamps north of Oneida Lake. The area is bordered by U.S. Route 11 in Central Square to the west, NYS Route 49 to the north, the village of Constantia to the east, and the shoreline of Oneida Lake to the south. Spraying will not take place over the waters of Oneida Lake.

The material to be used will be Masterline Kontrol 30-30 Concentrate, which is manufactured by Onivar USA of Austin, Texas. A copy of the pesticide label, including all warnings, can be found on the Oswego County Web site at oswegocounty.com/health or by calling 315-349-3564.

Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare but serious viral disease that can infect people and horses. The virus is spread by mosquitoes. 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.

"While the chances of a person getting Eastern equine encephalitis are small, we should all take steps to reduce the possibility of being bitten by mosquitoes," 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 in any area where mosquitoes might be present. 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.
  • For more information about EEE and other viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes, 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. 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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