Health Department advises residents to continue precautions against mosquitoes

OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Health Department announced that three mosquito samples collected last week from the towns of Palermo, Hastings and West Monroe have tested positive for the Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV). One mosquito sample collected from the town of West Monroe has tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV).

In addition, a third horse from the town of Palermo has died from EEE. The diagnosis was confirmed in testing conducted by the state Department of Health. The horse was from the same farm as the two horses reported last week were and was not vaccinated for EEE.

Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang reminds residents that the EEEV is endemic to this area. “Our surveillance shows that the virus is still present in Oswego County,” he said. “We continue to monitor and assess mosquito and virus activities and are working closely with the state Department of Health.”

EEEV has been found at sampling sites in Palermo, Albion, West Monroe, Hastings, Central Square and Constantia. This is the first report of WNV this year.

Huang said that these viruses will remain active in the environment until the first heavy frost occurs.

“Until we have a killing frost, people in all areas of Oswego County need to fully protect themselves from mosquito bites when they participate in outdoor activities,” he said. “Please avoid being outdoors during the periods when mosquitoes are most active, primarily around dusk and dawn. If you are outdoors, you should be wearing long pants and long sleeves, and using insect repellents.”

Insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective. Repellents which contain permethrin are meant for clothing and gear and should not be applied directly to the skin. Read the product label for repellents and follow package instructions.

Huang said the Health Department continues to discuss aerial spraying and has a contract with a pesticide applicator. There is currently a nationwide pesticide shortage. The department is working with the applicator as they attempt to obtain an adequate amount of the pesticide. Once this occurs, there are plans in progress for additional spraying to take place in the affected areas. These plans will be announced when they are finalized.

People are advised to take these measures to reduce mosquito breeding sites around the home:

- Repair or replace window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

- Mosquito larvicide “dunk” packs, suitable for treating large containers of water, are available from the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District. The treatments must be used according to the label’s instructions. For information call 315-592-9663.

- Dispose of old tires. Used tires are a significant mosquito breeding site and are accepted at Oswego County transfer stations. Visit https://www.oswegocounty.com/departments/infrastructure_facilities_and_technology/solid_waste/faq.php or call the Oswego County Solid Waste Department at 315-591-9200 for details.

- Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flower pots, and similar water-holding containers.

- 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.

For more information about protecting a family against mosquitoes, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547 or visit https://health.oswegocounty.com/.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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