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June 10, 2013

2013 Mosquito Surveillance Program Begins in Oswego County

OSWEGO - The Oswego County Health Department launched its full-scale mosquito surveillance program for the 2013 season with training sessions the week of May 28 at its field station at Toad Harbor Swamp in the Town of West Monroe. Participants learned about how mosquitoes are trapped, identified and prepared for testing for diseases such as the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus and the West Nile Virus (WNV).

"As part of a long-term surveillance program, our staff collects mosquito specimens from a number of trap sites around the county," said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. "This year, we will continue to monitor the same areas that had high mosquito activities last year."

Two of these locations are the Toad Harbor and Big Bay swamp areas in the town of Hastings, which are often the first places where EEE appears each summer. Traps are set in and near hardwood swamp areas because they are a perfect breeding ground for the Culiseta melanura mosquito, the main carrier of EEE. Once captured, mosquitoes are identified and grouped by species, gender, and whether or not they have ingested blood. The collection or "pool" of mosquitoes is then sent to the NYS Department of Health laboratory near Albany for testing that same week and the results are usually received the following week.

The EEE virus is one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases. It rarely affects humans; however, when it does, the virus can cause a serious infection or even death.

The best defense against the virus is to guard against mosquito bites. The Oswego County Health Department reminds residents to protect themselves and their families by taking the following precautions:

For more information about protecting your family against mosquitoes, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547, or visit the New York State Department of Health Web site at www.health.state.ny.us.


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