Mosquitoes Found Positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Indu Gupta, was notified by the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratory today that mosquitoes from a trap located on Route 298 in the Cicero Swamp area in the town of Cicero have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV). Dr. Gupta explains that “EEEV is one of a number of viruses that can be spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, so it is extremely important that people use personal protection measures to reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.”

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 greatest risk for developing severe disease when infected with EEEV.

Personal Protection Measures
Even though the mosquito counts in our county remain relatively low compared to recent years due to this year’s dry weather conditions, this first positive finding of EEEV in mosquitoes serves as a reminder for all residents that this virus is present and to be consistent in protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites no matter where you live. 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. The use of insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and other products that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also recommended. Use this EPA search tool to help you choose the repellent product that is right for you, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper use for safety and effectiveness. 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.It is also important to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by removing mosquito breeding grounds:
• 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 Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation. 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.