OSWEGO — The Oswego County Health Department’s mosquito surveillance program is in full swing now and, as yet, the mosquito-borne diseases Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile Virus have not been found in the county.
Oswego County Associate Public Health Sanitarian Chris Williams reminds residents that the recent heavy rains and hot humid weather create ideal conditions for mosquito populations to increase rapidly.
“From late spring and into the fall, we closely monitor mosquito and virus activities,” he added. “Mosquito samples are routinely collected from a number of trap sites around the county and tested by the State’s lab.”
The best defense against these viruses is to guard against mosquito bites.
“Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting many diseases,” Oswego County Director of Public Health Jiancheng Huang. “These diseases vary greatly but the primary prevention is the same — avoid mosquito bites. Guard against mosquito bites by using insect repellent properly, wearing protective 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. Also, repellents containing DEET should not be applied to skin under clothing. Read the product label and use according to package instructions.
Limit outdoor activities in areas where mosquitoes are most active and between dusk and dawn which is peak mosquito biting time.
“We understand that keeping away from the outdoors is not always practical,” said Huang. “If you have to be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks as weather permits.”
Reduce mosquito breeding areas in and around homes and properties by eliminating standing water. Mosquito dunk kits are available for use under certain circumstances. They must be used according to the instructions provided. The kits are available from the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District Office. For more information, call 315-592-9663 or go to www.oswegosoilandwater.com.
The Oswego County Health Department reminds residents to protect themselves and their families by taking the following precautions:
— Repair or replace all window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
— Dispose of old tires which are a significant mosquito breeding site. Used tires are accepted at Oswego County transfer stations. Contact the Oswego County Solid Waste Department at 315-591-9200 for details.
— Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flowerpots, 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 property.
For more information about protecting against mosquitoes, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3557 or visit the state Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/west_nile_virus/.