Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Indu Gupta, has been notified that a mosquito pool from a trap located at East Taft Road in the Cicero Swamp area of the town of Cicero has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV). Dr. Gupta explains, “EEE is a rare disease that is caused by a virus spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, therefore it is extremely important that people use personal protection measures to help reduce their risk of being bitten by a mosquito.” The Onondaga County Health Department is making preparations to conduct aerial spraying of the Cicero Swamp and immediate surrounding areas as early as next week. Gupta explains, “This proactive measure is done in an attempt to interrupt the virus cycle in the mosquito population. Reducing the number of mosquitoes (although it is temporary) can reduce the number of mosquitoes available to transmit virus to humans.” The timing of the spraying will be determined by weather conditions and other factors, and the actual date will be announced to the public through the news media and other communication channels.
This first positive finding of EEEV in a mosquito pool as well as continued findings of West Nile Virus in mosquito pools are reminders for all residents that these viruses are present in our county, and no matter where you live, to be consistent in protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Personal protection is recommended during outdoor activities by wearing shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outside for a long period of time. Applying a mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone is also recommended to prevent mosquito bites. Do not put the repellent directly onto children; put it on your hands and apply it to your child. Do not put insect repellent on your face. Wash skin and clothing after returning indoors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application.
It is also important to get rid of mosquito breeding grounds to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home:
• Throw away outdoor containers, ceramic pots or containers that hold water
• Remove all tires from your property
• Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors
• Clean clogged rain gutters and make sure they continue to work properly
• Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use
• Change water in bird baths at least every four days
• Clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds
• Clean chlorinated swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs
• Drain water from pool covers
• Use landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates
The Onondaga County Health Department remains in close contact with the New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation. For the weekly mosquito pool test results and for more information about personal protection measures against mosquitoes, visit www.ongov.net/health/mosquitoborne.html or contact the Onondaga County Health Department, Division of Environmental Health at (315) 435-1649.