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EEE Found in Bird-Biting Mosquitoes in Central Square; West Nile Virus Found near New Haven

CENTRAL SQUARE – Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus and West Nile virus (WNV) were found in mosquito pools collected in Oswego County Aug. 7, the Oswego County Health Department announced this afternoon (Aug. 13). The tests were performed in the State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories near Albany.

mosquitoThe state Department of Health reported the results to the Oswego County Health Department yesterday and this afternoon.

Two mosquito pools collected in the village of Central Square tested positive for both the EEE virus and West Nile virus, and a third pool in the village of Central Square tested positive for EEE. One mosquito pool collected in the town of New Haven tested positive for West Nile virus. A mosquito pool is a collection of mosquitoes of the same species taken from a site for testing.

“It is critical that people take individual protective measures to reduce their chances of being exposed to EEE virus and West Nile virus,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “These are different diseases caused by different viruses. We are working very closely with the New York State Department of Health, and we have begun the process to obtain the necessary permits for aerial spraying of areas where EEE was found. We will notify the public through the news media of the aerial spraying schedule.”

In rare cases, humans may be infected with the EEE virus or West Nile virus. Both may cause severe inflammation and swelling of the brain, even death. West Nile virus could be much less severe and most infected humans do not develop symptoms. Symptoms from the viruses’ infections include sudden high fever, muscle pains, and a headache of increasing severity. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention.

Huang advises that staying away from areas where mosquitoes concentrate and limiting outside activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active are two of the best measures people can take.

“People in Oswego County should continue to be vigilant in their personal protection measures regardless,” said Huang. “This is the key to safeguard against these viruses.”

The Oswego County Health Department advises people to:

Use insect repellent properly. Those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are most effective but should be used with care. Read the product label and use according to package instructions.
Limit outdoor activities in areas where mosquitoes are most active and between dusk and dawn, which is the peak mosquito biting time.
If you have to be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks as weather permits.
In addition, residents can take these protective measures to minimize mosquito populations in and around their homes and properties:

Repair or replace all window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Reduce or eliminate all standing water.
Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flower pots, or similar water-holding containers.
Clear roof gutters, remove leaf debris from yards and gardens, and clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.
Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs and drain pool covers.
Change the water in birdbaths and horse troughs twice a week.
Dispose of old tires at an Oswego County transfer station. There is a minimum $10 disposal fee. Contact the Oswego County Solid Waste Department at 591-9200 for details.

For more information about EEE and other viruses 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 or http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/west_nile_virus/fact_sheet.htm