The Onondaga County Health Department and several community partners hosted a “Fight the Bite in CNY” forum earlier today. The forum featured both local and statewide experts who addressed what Onondaga County Health Officials are doing to prevent the spread of mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses. Indu Gupta, MD, MPH, Onondaga County Health Commissioner, was pleased that many experts joined together to make the forum a success and provided current information about Zika, public and global health, mosquito- and tick-borne diseases, surveillance and control of mosquitoes, and what the public can do to reduce their risk of mosquito-borne illness. Dr. Gupta stated, “We are working diligently to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases in Onondaga County, however, the public must consistently use personal protection measures”. Those in attendance included people from local hospitals, town and village officials, and community-based organizations.
Bryon Backenson, Deputy Director, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, gave an overview of vector-borne illnesses. “With this weekend being Independence Day weekend, this forum is a great opportunity to reinforce with local officials that vector-borne diseases are present in central New York, and what can be done to prevent them.” Dr. Timothy Endy, Chief of Infectious Disease at Upstate University Hospital shared current information about Zika virus, West Nile virus, and Eastern Equine encephalitis. Dr. Endy reinforced to all, “Insect-borne infections are a serious health concern for central New Yorkers this summer. Prevention and early recognition is key to getting appropriate diagnosis and treatment.”
Following the expert speakers, table discussions by those who work directly in the field provided information on local tick surveillance; mosquito trapping and surveillance; current Zika information; personal protection measures; signs, symptoms, and tick removal; and habitat and landscape management.
For more information about this forum, please visit: /health/fightthebiteforum.html where you can download print-ready educational materials.