EEE Virus Found in Mammal-Biting Mosquitoes in Oswego County

Submitted article

The Oswego County Health Department was notified today that more of the Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus has been found in Oswego County, bringing the total to seven pools.

Interim Public Health Director Dr. Dennis Norfleet said that although the EEE virus is still active, surveillance activities show that the mosquito population is steadily declining.

The virus was collected from traps set in the heart of the Toad Harbor/Big Bay Swamp. This species of mosquitoes is known to feed primarily on deer. Dr. Norfleet said this is the first time this year that the EEE virus has been identified in mammal-biting mosquitoes.

“While people should be aware that the virus is present, conditions still do not warrant aerial spraying,” said Dr. Norfleet. “It is important to continue to take personal measures that will protect against mosquito bites. 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 are most active.”

To protect against mosquito bites, people should wear shoes and socks, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when outside around dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Use insect repellant containing DEET during dawn and dusk, and apply it over clothing. Always use insect repellants according to the label instructions.

To reduce mosquito-breeding sites 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 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