Mosquitoes Found Positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

ONONDAGA COUNTY, AUGUST 16, 2023 – The Onondaga County Health Department was notified by the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratory today that two mosquito pools from a trap located at Taft Road in the town of Cicero tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV). This first positive finding of virus in mosquitoes this year in Onondaga County serves as a reminder for all residents to remain consistent in using personal protection measures.

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Kathryn Anderson explains, “EEEV is one of a number of viruses that can be spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While mosquito counts in Central New York have been low throughout this season, it is always important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.”

Eastern Equine Encephalitis
EEE is a rare but serious disease that causes encephalitis or inflammation of the brain. People over the age of 50 and younger than the age of 15 are at the greatest risk of developing severe disease when infected with EEEV.

Personal Protection Measures
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. Use insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and other products that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper use for safety and effectiveness. Insect repellents should be applied only to intact skin or over clothing. Do NOT apply DEET or Picaridin directly onto children’s skin—apply to your own hands and then put it on the child. Repellent should never be used on babies younger than 2 months old.

Remove Standing Water from Your Property
It is extremely important to remove mosquito breeding grounds by eliminating any standing water that may have collected on your property:

  • 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 birdbaths 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 Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The decision to spray is based on several factors including, but not limited to, the number of mosquitoes found in mosquito surveillance traps. All spraying decisions are made with assistance from NYSDOH and the NYSDEC.

For the weekly mosquito pool test results and for more information about personal protection measures against mosquitoes, visit or contact the Onondaga County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health at 315. 435.1649.