First Report of West Nile Virus in Oswego County

OSWEGO COUNTY – The New York State Department of Health informed the Oswego County Health Department today that the West Nile Virus (WNV) was detected in a mosquito sample collected from the Toad Harbor Swamp in the town of West Monroe.

“We have been working closely with state Department of Health to monitor mosquito activity around the county for several weeks,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Vera Dunsmoor. “This finding, though early in the season, serves as a reminder for people everywhere that they need to be vigilant in their efforts to avoid mosquito bites.”

People are reminded to limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are usually more active. It is also recommended to wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, socks and shoes when outdoors.

People who choose to use insect repellents are advised to read the product label and follow package instructions. Repellents that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective. Those that contain permethrin are meant for clothing and gear and should not be applied directly to the skin.

To reduce mosquito habitat around the home, residents are advised to:

  • Repair or replace window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside and reduce or eliminate all standing water.
  • Dispose of old tires. Used tires are a significant mosquito breeding site and are accepted at some county transfer stations for a small charge. Call the Oswego County Solid Waste Department at 315-591-9200 for locations and fees.
  • Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flower pots, and similar water-holding containers.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
  • Clear roof gutters and be sure they drain properly.
  • Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Drain pool covers.
  • Change the water in birdbaths and horse troughs twice a week.
  • Remove leaf debris from yards and gardens and clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

Another important preventative measure is the use of dunk kits to reduce mosquito populations in certain circumstances. The health department and the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) have partnered again this year to distribute free mosquito dunks. Each kit contains a larvicide and must be used according to the directions included.

Homeowners can pick up a kit at the front desk at the Oswego County Health Department, entrance B, 70 Bunner St., Oswego; at the OCSWCD’S front door, 3105 NYS Rte. 3, Fulton; or at their local municipal facility. For more information about the mosquito dunk kits, call 315-592-9663 or go to www.oswegosoilandwater.com.

For more information about protecting your family against mosquitoes, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547 or visit the New York State Department of Health website at http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2731/.

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