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Aug. 3, 2012

Oswego County Child Is Recovering from West Nile Virus

OSWEGO - The Oswego County Health Department has been notified by the New York State Department of Health Laboratory that an Oswego County child was infected with West Nile virus. The child lives in the City of Oswego and is recovering at home.

The Oswego County Health Department was notified by the New York State Department of Health Friday afternoon that the child tested positive for West Nile virus. The virus is carried by mosquitoes and was found earlier this summer in mosquitoes collected in Central Square and New Haven. It is also present in Onondaga County and areas of western and southern New York State.

"The Oswego County Health Department is working with the state Department of Health to investigate the case," said Jiancheng Huang, Public Health Director of the Oswego County Health Department. "As West Nile activities increase in some parts of the county recently, we need to encourage all citizens to use personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites."

In most people, West Nile virus causes no symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems and in rare instances can lead to death. Individuals aged 50 and older are at highest risk for serious illness. It is estimated that 20 percent of the people who become infected will develop West Nile fever and have mild symptoms, including fever, headache and body aches, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

The Oswego County Health Department advises people to reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by using insect repellents properly. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are the most effective and should be used according to package instructions.

People should also minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn and wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time or when mosquitoes are most active.

Many mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus lay their eggs in stagnant water around the home.

"Any standing water around the yard can provide a home for mosquitoes to breed. Mosquitoes can then enter houses through broken screens or unscreened windows or doors," said Huang.

Mosquitoes can breed in any stagnant water that lasts more than four days. To reduce the mosquito population around your home and property, the Oswego County Health Department advises people to take the following steps to reduce or eliminate standing water:

  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.
  • Make sure windows and doors have screens in good condition.
  • Make sure windows and doors have screens in good condition.
  • Drill drain holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
  • Make sure that your roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
  • Turn over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Change the water in bird baths twice a week.
  • Dispose of used tires. Call your local landfill or public works department to find out how to dispose of them properly.
  • Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds.
  • Clean and properly chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

For more information on West Nile virus, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3547 or visit the New York State Department of Health's web site at http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/west_nile_virus/fact_sheet.htm.


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