OSWEGO COUNTY – In order to reduce the population of mosquitoes carrying the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, the Oswego County Health Department plans to conduct aerial spraying of approximately 10,000 acres in portions of the towns of Hastings, West Monroe and Constantia late during the week of Aug. 12.
The date, time and exact boundaries of spraying will be announced as soon as plans are finalized, to ensure that the public has ample opportunity to prepare.
Several mosquito samples recently collected from the town of Hastings and Toad Harbor Swamp in West Monroe have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis virus.
EEE is an extremely rare but serious and often fatal infection that causes encephalitis or inflammation of the brain.
It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.
The state Department of Health has declared EEE an “imminent threat to public health” in Oswego County.
“We are working closely with the state Department of Health and are taking the necessary steps to prepare for aerial spraying,” said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director. “The official designation by the state health department is one of the first steps required before the county receives permission from state agencies to conduct aerial spraying.”
Pesticide information will be posted on the Oswego County website at http://www.oswegocounty.com/
Huang said aerial spraying is a temporary, partial measure to control the spread of EEE virus.
People should continue to limit their outdoor activities around dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active; use insect repellents and wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks when outdoors; and eliminate standing water around the home.
Repellents containing DEET are the most effective but should be used with caution and according to label instructions.
Products containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective.
Aerial spraying is dependent on weather conditions.
Residents within the spray area will be notified of the spraying by the Hyper-Reach Broadcast Notification Service through Oswego County’s E-9-1-1 Emergency Communications Department.
Oswego County residents who would like to receive community alerts by wireless phones, text messages and TTY may register for the Hyper-Reach Broadcast Notification Service through Oswego County’s E-9-1-1 Emergency Communications Department at https://secure.hyper-reach.com/comsignup.jsp?id=12481, or they may contact the E-9-1-1 administrative office at 315-349-8215 or 1-800-679-3911 and request a registration form. Landline phone customers don’t need to register because their numbers are provided to the E-9-1-1 department by the telephone companies that serve Oswego County.
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 website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/eastern_equine_encephalitis/fact_sheet.htm