OSWEGO – West Nile virus was detected in samples of mosquitoes collected in two Oswego County locations, the Oswego County Health Department reported today (Aug. 24).
The virus was found in bird-biting mosquitoes collected in the towns of New Haven and Albion, according to Director of Public Health Jiancheng Huang.
Huang said people need to be vigilant about using insect repellent and take measures to reduce mosquito habitats around their homes.
“It is fairly typical for West Nile virus activity to increase in late summer,” said Huang. “Recent rains may increase the population of the mosquito species that carry the West Nile virus.”
The mosquito population has been relatively low this summer due to the heat and dry conditions.
The Oswego County Health Department is still conducting its surveillance program and will continue to monitor and test mosquitoes for West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis.
Huang noted that although it has been detected in neighboring counties, this is the first confirmation of West Nile virus this summer in Oswego County.
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has not been detected so far this summer in Oswego County.
“The types of mosquitoes that carry West Nile are present in many habitats and we should all be using personal protection measures to guard against mosquito bites,” said Huang. “This means using insect repellent properly, wearing protecting clothing, limiting outdoor exposure when and where mosquitoes are most active, and minimizing their populations around your house and property.”
Insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective but should be used with care.
Repellents containing permethrin are meant for clothing and gear and should not be applied directly to the skin.
Repellents containing DEET should not be applied to skin under clothing.
Read the product label and use according to package instructions.
“We understand that keeping away from the outdoors is not always practical. If you have to be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks as weather permits,” said Huang.
Other precautions people can take to minimize mosquito populations are to:
– Repair or replace all window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside, and reduce or eliminate all standing water.
– Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
– Dispose of old tires. Used tires are a significant mosquito breeding site and are accepted at Oswego County transfer stations. Call the Oswego County Solid Waste Department at 591-9200 for details.
– Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flower pots, or 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 and 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.
For more information about protecting your family against mosquitoes, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547, or visit the New York State Department of Health website at http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2731/