OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Health Department reported today (Aug. 4) that the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus was found in three mosquito samples collected during routine testing near the village of Central Square and the Toad Harbor Swamp near West Monroe.
The samples were collected July 27 and July 29 by the Oswego County Health Department and tested at the state health department’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories near Albany.
The samples of mosquitoes are the first to test positive for the EEE virus in Oswego County this year.
Samples of mosquitoes in neighboring counties have tested positive for EEE in recent weeks.
Due to these findings, plans are now under way for the Oswego County Health Department to conduct aerial spraying in the target area.
The location of the intended spray zone, as well as the date and time of spraying, will be announced as soon as plans are finalized to ensure that the public will have ample opportunity to prepare for the event.
Aerial spraying is a control measure to diminish mosquito populations which will help to reduce the risk of human infection from the Eastern equine encephalitis virus.
The virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and is considered a threat to public health in Oswego County.
Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang emphasizes that aerial spraying is a temporary, partial measure to control the spread of EEE.
Huang said it is very important for people to continue to take actions that will minimize their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
“The EEE virus is in our environment and residents need to maintain diligence in their personal protection measures and in reducing mosquito breeding sites around their homes,” he said.
Personal protection measures can be summarized into 3 Ds:
• DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus repellents should be applied to prevent mosquito bites. Repellent should be applied following the product label’s instructions for children and adults;
• Dawn and dusk are the times mosquitoes are most active. People should continue to limit their outdoor activities between dusk and dawn; wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks when outdoors; and
• Drain standing water around the home to reduce mosquito breeding sites, and fix worn window and door screens to prevent mosquitos from entering the home.
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